Two weeks ago, the Virginia state delegate race made national headlines when Danica Roem became one of the country’s first openly transgender elected officials. And the news made its way to Hollywood, as pop star Demi Lovato took the delegate-elect from Prince William County as her date to the American Music Awards on Sunday night.
Lovato, a former Disney star who said she was “just completely inspired” by Roem’s story, attended the AMAs to sing “Sorry Not Sorry,” a song directed to the people who bullied her in school.
“I wanted to have her in the audience with me tonight because I feel like we have been through some of the same things, and now we get to share this experience together,” Lovato told E!
According to Roem, her appearance at the show in Los Angeles was a “super last-minute request.”
“So I’m on a plane for a super last-minute request to talk about inclusion & bullying prevention at the AMAs. I spent 16 months working to make our schools more inclusive, so I’m happy to take it up,” she wrote on Twitter, adding that she would be back in Virginia in time for a school board meeting at 7:30 a.m. Monday.
Lovato said that she and Roem met briefly in a hotel room right before they walked the red carpet together — and that although Roem joked that she’s more of a heavy-metal fan, she appreciates Lovato’s advocacy for inclusion and anti-bullying.
“She’s really able to give a lot of voice to people who need a champion, who need someone to basically publicly say on a national stage what it is that they’re feeling,” Roem said on the red carpet. “My campaign, I talked a lot about the idea of making Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth. So no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship or who you love, you are welcome, celebrated and respected in Virginia because of who you are, not despite it.”
Roem was also shown sitting next to Lovato in the audience. At the beginning of her “Sorry Not Sorry” performance, Lovato stayed in her seat looking straight ahead while nasty tweets (“you’re ugly,” “piece of trash”) flashed on a screen on stage. Then she stood up and strolled to the stage.
“There’s so much hate in this world. We have to rise above, and never say sorry for who you are,” she said, before beginning the song.