Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the devastating terror attack, which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester venue. In the aftermath, a crossed black ribbon featuring a pair of bunny ears began appearing as a solidarity symbol to remember those who died in the bombing, with the ears referencing many of Ariana Grande’s visuals. And at his show, Styles referenced the symbol by displaying a bunny ears hand gesture as he performed the song.
The tribute was organised by the One Love Manchester Project, who memorialise the victims of the Manchester terror attacks through live music. As well as distributing signs for fans in the crowd to hold in the air during Sign of the Times, project organiser @eilidhsadventures handed out pink balloons and pink filters for fans to stick over their phone torches.
Harry Styles pays respect to the victims of the Manchester tragedy during his concert by holding up a bunny ear after a fan held up a sign revealing that their friend was one of the victims. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/CovU3kuACf
— Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) May 23, 2023
“My friend, 14 year old Eilidh MacLeod, was one of those victims” reads One Love Manchester Project’s website. “She loved Harry Styles and was so excited to see him live upon hearing his debut album.” MacLeod was among those killed by the terror attack, and Sign of the Times was one of her favourite songs.
“By coincidence, Harry is doing a show in Coventry on the exact date of the attacks, 6 years afterwards – the perfect opportunity for me to memorialise Eilidh and our 21 other angels, and to make something positive of a day which brings so much pain for families across the country,” it continues. “Pink was one of Eilidh’s favourite colours, so please help me turn Coventry pink for her.” As Styles gestured in tribute to the project, fans down the front held up signs and pink lights.
harry styles fans doing a project in manchester for the victims makes me feel so emotional 🤍pic.twitter.com/hNt5RpTLyF
— luna (@giawluna) May 23, 2023
Styles grew up near Manchester, and previously addressed the terror attacks onstage, in Mexico back in 2017, performing a show the day after the bombing. The singer performed a lower-key acoustic set as a sign of respect, and fans also observed a minute’s silence in memory of those killed.
“Last night, there was a tragedy in my hometown of Manchester, and I have been left with a hole in my heart,” he said.
"I went to my first show in the arena, and I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life playing in Manchester,” Styles said. “We have a choice, every single day that we wake up, of what we can put into the world, and I ask you to please choose love every single day. I promise that we will be back very soon to Mexico with a full show, but tonight, if it’s OK with you, we’re going to play a small acoustic set. I hope you understand, and I hope you’ll join me in a moment of silence for the victims and for the families of the victims in Manchester today. Thank you for understanding. I love you very much."
When the former One Direction member played Manchester Arena in 2018, the year after the terror attacks, he played Just a Little Bit Of Your Heart – a song he wrote for Ariana Grande – in tribute to those who were killed at the venue. “I grew up coming to my first concerts in this room,” he said. “I love this room. And I thank you for spending some time with us.”