Paramore’s Hayley Williams pays tribute to ‘queer kids’: ‘We have shifted this scene’

Hayley Williams standing in front of trees

Paramore star Hayley Williams has paid tribute to the “young girls, queer kids and anybody of colour” who’ve helped change the pop-punk scene.

Williams shared a handwritten essay on the band’s journey since it was formed in 2004, ahead of Paramore’s When We Were Young Festival headline performance on Sunday (23 October).

Taking to Instagram Stories, she posted a handwritten essay detailing the shifts in the ‘scene’.

“Young girls, queer kids, and anybody of any colour… We have shifted this scene together, messily, angrily, heartbroken, and determined,” Hayley Williams wrote.

Hayley Williams’ letter. (Hayley Williams)

The letter details her experience with a scene that once “threatened to reject us”.

“To grow up in this scene was not a simple thing,” Williams wrote.

“To be celebrating it (and to be celebrated by it) is not a simple thing. Nothing about this life — for you, me, or anyone — is simple.”

Continuing, she detailed why she fell in love with the specific genre that Paramore aimed to fill, and the difficulty of being female in that space.

“We fell in love with this subset of post-punk and hardcore likely because nothing else moved us. We didn’t fit in other places.”

“To be a young girl in love with this scene was to have the hope that I might find my own way to belong,” she continued. “It took years to find that belonging. It’s taken a lot of unlearning. A lot of untangling knots I didn’t even know were there.

“What I did know was that for every ‘Take off your top!’ or snarky punkzine review … For every dramatic headline pinned on my name, or any season of self-doubt … No one was going to define Paramore but Paramore,” she said.

Paramore have announced a headline 2022 tour and tickets go on sale soon.

Paramore. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

The second part of the letter attributes the constant popularity of Paramore to “intense devotion” from their fans and the fact that they rail against trends.

“Nearly 20 years later, we find ourselves a pillar of the very scene that threatened to reject us. And me.

“We’ve never banked on trends. Or nostalgia. Or even me, alone. We only did exactly what we knew was real for us. (And sure, I leaned into spite as needed.)”

Williams said that as Paramore perform material from throughout their career at When We Were Young, she would be “celebrating the fact that, as a scene, we’ve come a long way. With much further to go,” she wrote.

“F**k the ones who doubted! Hugs to the ones who watched on and even sort of believed. Young girls, queer kids, and anybody of any color… We have shifted this scene together, messily, angrily, heartbroken, and determined. Tonight, for me at least, is about celebrating all the facets of what punk music actually represents. All the things it wasn’t allowed to be when we were young.”
The emo and pop-punk festival at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds features Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Avril Lavigne and more – the same lineup will also perform its closing day on 29 October.

Paramore will tour the UK and Ireland in 2023.