Love loud and people will listen.
Dan Reynolds, the frontman for Imagine Dragons, believes art should start conversations and create real change.
Reynolds was raised Mormon and still considers himself one, but there were some messages from the Church that didn’t sit right with him, like their mixed messages when it came to accepting LGBTQ folks.
“I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of the culture that comes with it, but I still identify as Mormon,” he says. “I like to think of myself more as a spiritual person,” Reynolds told Billboard.
Reynolds, who is a father of two, realized he wanted his children to look up to him as a rock’n’roll musician who stood for something more than sex and drugs. Reynolds struggles with depression so the statistic that LGBTQ youth are three times more likely to consider suicide hit him close to home. Several fans wrote him saying that they loved his music but they were disappointed he practiced a faith that didn’t view them as equals.
He started the Love Loud Foundation, its first action was the creation of a festival in Utah that raised funds for LGBTQ organizations helping at-risk youth and promoted dialogue between the LGBTQ community and the Mormon church.
The Mormon church endorsed the event in a public statement on their official site, stating, “We join our voice with all who come together to foster a community of inclusion in which no one is mistreated because of who they are or what they believe.”
These words have had real weight. Several LGBTQ Mormons attended the festival to perform and or speak, including 13-year-old Savannah who recently came out as lesbian during a Mormon sacrament meeting.
“They did not mess up when they gave me freckles or when they made me gay,” she said at the meeting. “God loves me just this way.”
Reynolds says the church’s response to these stories is showing positive, important progress.
“The whole part of LoveLoud was to say, this is inclusive for everyone. We’re not attacking an organization, we’re not attacking the Mormon Church. We just want to start a dialogue about something everyone can agree on, which is that these statistics need to change,” Reynolds told CBS News.
Love Loud Fest is slated for a 2018 return.