Katy Perry Sings “Firework” With Autistic Child: Watch The Video, Try Not To Cry

Oct 19th, 2012 // 80 Comments
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Katy & Jodi
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Katy Perry took the stage for Comedy Central’s autism benefit Night of Too Many Stars but this time she wasn’t the star. That designation would go to Jodi DiPiazza, an autistic girl who made a breakthrough with the help of music. Jodi accompanied the superstar on “Firework,” playing piano and singing with Perry in front of a few thousand at New York City’s Beacon Theatre.

The special airs Sunday (October 21), but you can watch this truly moving video up top. The duet starts at the 3:10 mark, but it’s worth watching the whole package, unless you’d rather your colleagues not see you bawling in your cubicle. For information on how you can donate, go here.

  1. Evan H.

    I couldn’t; I cried. So moving and inspiring.

  2. VanderbiltWhitney

    Oh my goodness. How magnificent! To think I didn’t care much for Katy Perry or the song:”Firework” before seeing this. Thank you for bringing awareness to autism. Many parents don’t know what to do and not having the support/ resources they need, send their children to facilities like the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, MA, that uses painful shocks as their “treatment”. Please do whatever you can to have aversive practices like that stopped and other positive treatment like this used instead. Kudos and thanks to Jodi DiPiazza, her parents, Jon Stewart, Katy Perry, Good Morning America and everyone else involved in bringing autism to the forefront. Jodi DiPiazza is my hero! Stop the JRC!

    • MargieR

      This girl is an amazing musician, not because she is autistic, but because she is so young to be that accomplished on the piano!

      • Autism, parenting, and a lot of support have EVERYTHING to do with the way this child has become the musician she is. Once a child has been put in a box- a label then there is an automatic assumption that they are either a savant or totally disabled. Guess who else was an accomplished musician with Autism…? Craig Nicholls from The Vines, Gary Numan, Phillipa Pip Brown aka Ladyhawke, Hikari Oe – Japanese composer, Johnny Dean, singer/songwriter of Britpop band Menswear, James Durbin, finalist on the tenth season of American Idol, Abz Love, English singer, rapper, dancer, DJ, and member of boy band Five, Travis Meeks, lead singer, guitarist and song writer for acoustic rock band Days of the New, Adam Young, multi-instrumentalist, producer and the founder of the electronic project Owl City, Courtney Love, frontwoman of Hole, Caiseal Mór author, musician, and artist, Marty Balin, singer and songwriter with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, Tony DeBlois, blind American musician, Jonathan Jayne, contestant on American Idol, Leslie Lemke, blind American musician, Derek Paravicini, blind British musician, Matt Savage, U.S. jazz prodigy, Glenn Gould – Canadian pianist, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – composer, Bohuslav Martinů – Czech-American composer (1890 -1959), and there are more, many more. People with Autism can do and have done many of the inventions and poetry, art and beauties in life that we would otherwise not have.

        Katy Perry did an AMAZING thing to allow a child on national TV to share her creation and to encourage her own abilities. Art is a form of expression. verbal or non-verbal a person with Autism can communicate with art. It takes people like Katy Perry and Jon Stewart to support and encourage families facing autism that anything is possible! There are MANY stars out there with children with ASD and they don’t use their gifts to bring awareness- it is terrible and sad.

        When I read the words and hear the song Firework, tears endlessly fall. I am a fierce fighter for families facing autism. It changes the foundation of the entire family and it is NEVER the same, nor is there normalcy- EVER! Everyday, every hour, every moment is a battle. So when people are brave enough to support this type of DISORDER- it amazes me…it humbles me.

  3. angietuazon

    Tears just kept flowing. Thank you Katy Perry. Jodi DiPiazza is a real inspiration to us all. I hope more Stars will help promote Autism awareness and that more people with special needs get more support and equal opportunity in the society.

  4. Helen Bates

    For all that AUTISM is, is ISN”T a disease. Thank you JON STEWAT, for showing that.

    • ashley

      actually it is a disease, and if you know nothing of the physiological markers of autism such as gut flora dysbiosis, brain inflammation, lack of blood flow to the brain, etc. then please refrain from making uneducated comments.

      • David

        I think she was speaking more metaphysically than medically. Sometimes when you emotionally respond to something that moves you, you don’t always get the words right.

        • MargieR

          I agree, but Jodi is a very talented musician. She plays the piano better than many musicians twice her age. She reminds me of my first husband who was a child prodigy on keyboards of all kinds. I hope she has a wonderful musical career ahead of her. (My husband was about her age when he played his first paying performance.)

      • It is NOT a disease. I dare you to say that to someone who HAS Autism!!! You can’t CATCH it….Idiot,

        • MargieR

          You can’t catch cancer either. calling something a disease gives hope that those who have it can live the lives they were born to live, to NOT be pushed into an institution and warehoused, instead of getting the education that can allow them to reach their potential, something that most of us take for granted.

    • nife_girl

      it is a disorder–”autism spectrum disorder.”

    • Linne

      You are right – it isn’t a disease; it’s a disorder, if you need a negative word to describe it. But we all have challenges in this life; some are physical, some mental/emotional; some spiritual. We need to focus on the gifts that come with each challenge and quit focusing on the challenge itself. If we focus on the gifts, we will learn and grow and then be able to contribute to our world.
      ~ Linne

      • I have studied and lived with Autism for 12 years. Some people call Autism a disease and some a disorder. The thing is- Autism is not detected with a blood test- yet…nor can it be caught, therefore to call it a disease is not completely accurate. The other issue is that it is a neurological disorder which is indicative of a disease, however it is diagnosed psychologically, which implies that it is a disorder. So that debate is up in the air so to speak-I’m certain no one on here is an “idiot” or “uneducated”…the fact remains that it is changing all the time because science is discovering more and more when people like Katy Perry and Jon Stewart raise money for research and awareness!

  5. Helen Bates

    Hard to type with tears, my apologies that is… IT* isn’t a disease.

  6. kSiddons2

    Does it make me a bad person if I didn’t cry? I feel bad but I didn’t even feel sad.

    • Dee

      It’s not sad, it’s beautiful.

    • Roberta

      No it does not make you bad. It did not make e sad either. I have a twenty seven yer I’d daughter. She is amazing and I love her dearly. I bet Katey Perrie learned from that young lady. Wow, way to go Katie!

    • lack of compassion or empathy… or on good drugs????? If you live with this disorder everyday or every moment then I cannot see how that cannot affect you. It doesn’t make you a “bad” person, it is just obvious that you are numb- like a Sociopath. Either you feel nothing except what is effecting your life and your world only and you simply cannot relate to other people. Are you really that devoid or emotion? There is a place for you in this world…just not here- with people that deal with life and death situations every day, every moment. -If you do, I want to know what you are taking to make you numb. I would LOVE to NOT feel for a moment.

  7. D Agustin

    My 6 yo who is also gifted with autism loves this song. This made me feel warm and fuzzy. Especially when the audience started clapping and her little face lit up

  8. Sujatha

    Its over whelming….tears just roll. God bless you little angel :)

  9. Kathy Hydock (Cleveland, OH)

    Jodi DiPiazza is a rock star! I, too, got goosebumps listening to her sing and play with Katy Perry. Mr. and Mrs. DiPiazza — you are wonderful parents and have a truly gifted child! All the best to you and your family!! Hugs and kisses to Jodi – she nailed it!

  10. Brenda jenkins

    Absolutely beautifully done!!! I have friends who have autistic children. I totally agree with Kathy Hydock…wonderful loving parents. WTG Jodi!! Excellent job!

  11. Marybel

    The kid sang much better than Katy Perry. A solo would have been better.

    • Mr.Fergueson

      Ummm…no.

    • Kristy

      I’m not a Katy Perry fan but Mr. Ferguson was correct. It was a beautiful moment and inspirational, but let’s not get ridiculous with the comments.

    • RSC

      I am not one to defend celebrities… but in this case Perry sang how she did to allow the child to outshine just as she successfully did in this video. Kudos to both of them for the amazing performance. It was beautiful.

  12. Dan

    Freaking love Katy! A true Artist. Has a message and puts it out there for all. So awesome!

  13. The video is wonderful. The video description needs to be adjusted. What I saw was a child living her dreams. Unless I was told, I would’t have known that she has autism. She is a person first, not her disease. She is a girl with autism, not an autistic child.

    • YOU ARE AWESOME!!! I tell my son that all the time. He is Sebastian- not Autism. And when he asks his doctor to fix his brain, I tell him that it is what makes him so special and how amazing he is and what he creates. When he told me, “I can’t believe I got stuck with Autism”. I told him you can choose. Will you control your behavior or will Autism control you? We always talk about that he is Sebastian- not Autism and Autism is just a part of him. Unfortunately he has epilepsy (5 different types) and a benign form of cancer, so he has much more to deal with. So we talk about it. He is at the age where is is cognoscente of the difference between he and his peers. He is in Gen. Ed. and does AMAZING!!! There is HOPE!! And he has broken every barrier that has come his direction. ☺
      !!

  14. Samantha

    Very Nice give me hope for my 4 year old non Verbal Autism son that he also may find himself in a unique way

    • Samantha- Give your all, and get all the help and services you can for your child as soon as possible and you will find success. Have you tried ASL? Or Art? Your child is in there- you just have to figure out how to get it out of him.

      Your child is entitled to services through your medical insurance, the school he attends, and possibly the county you live in. I do not have the specifics on your state, but there are 4 main entities: 1) You- your family. Learning to read him and figuring out the best way he learns(probably visual)…but if you try American Sign Language and speak at the same time, it might help to get the words out. 2) The DSM 5 now uses Autisms instead of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The advantage in many states is that a child does not have to have a diagnosis of “Autism” to get services such as Applied Behavioral Analysis, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. These things are all offered through the county you live in as well as the school district. In addition your medical coverage will also cover some of these services (not many, but some). 3) Have a good medical team. Use your Primary Care as your “go to” doc for all your providers and the educators to go to. If your child has other medical issues such as Epilepsy (which is very common with Autism), or Epidermal Nevis or other cancers that cause neurological disorders, make sure ALL those that work with your son know what to do if there is a medical emergency. -Finally, take care of yourself. Being a full time parent is the most important and most difficult job there is…being a mother to a child with the complex needs of Autism is all consuming. If you have friends and family you can trust to help- do it!! I wish you and your family much love and gratitude for the small things that others take for granted. ♥

  15. Jill

    Thumbs up to u Katy for this magical moment !!!!! BEAUIFUL !

  16. Patti

    Please remove the top less pictures at the bottom of this. It does an injustice to the beautiful performance and what these two beautiful people are doing….Thank you for the beautiful post, otherwise…

  17. Thank you Katy Perry for helping support autism. It made me cry, cause I’ve been there too. Thank you for getting out there.

  18. Deanna

    You can all say what you want, but when a Star is there supporting something that is so misunderstood, that in itself speaks volumes.. I love the song and the meaning behind it.. this performance was just simply BEAUTIFUL!!!

  19. espie

    i love katy Perry!!!

  20. Way to go both Jodi & Katy!!

  21. Nora

    Unbelievable Jodi – I too have a autistic son – I was told he would never be able to talk or function but today he can talk and lives on his our with his wife to be and their baby daugther. He is also a gold metal swimmer. we are very proud of him.

  22. Meg

    children “have” autism, it does not make them autistic. Disabilities do not define who we are…..rather traits that we have.

  23. Yomama

    Same song by Peter Griffin years ago !!!

  24. Marriedhim

    Love Katy Perry. The key was just a bit too low. Not what the original song was in. Great video!

  25. Izzy

    *Child with autism. Please use person first language.

  26. “Child with Autism.” It sounds a whole lot better and respects the person before the disease.

  27. Kimberly Kilgore

    My son is severely autistic. Thank you for showing so much respect and integrity for children with autism. We love you all.

  28. roxanna jeffries

    Protesting..We will be protesting Aug 30th in New Port Richey in Pasco Co. Courthouse at 9:00 to bring awareness on abuse that is being allowed to go on in our adult living facilities that house our special need adults. Changes we are asking for are Administrators of these facilities have higher standards and if the facility loses their license ,they lose the residents

  29. Lynn

    That was amazing and so full of love and talent!

  30. stacey Kramer

    Amazing!

  31. Katy Blows Dicks

    GAAAYYYYYYYYYY

  32. Does anyone know of any programs for low income families with Autistic children in WA state? I know a grandparent who could really use some help with their Autistic grandson.. The schools here are no good.

  33. kim

    Beautiful , loved it .

  34. Gretchen

    I have to say this was hands down, one of the most moving and beautiful things I have ever watched. There are not enough words to describe how moving this was.

  35. Bridjette

    I CRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. LOVED IT!!! Thank you Katy!!!

  37. Andrea

    Absolutely amazing!! The tears are flowing!!

  38. john

    No one cares!

    • Yes, many of us do care. When karma comes around, John, you will have something to care about then. Until that times comes just be thankful nothing in your life is worthy of anyone else’s concern.

    • No empathy- no compassion- makes for the issues that we deal with in our society. Sounds like you too have a disorder you were born with….

  39. Nasty little retarded freak!

  40. Sherry

    Dento you are a nasty excuse for a human being. Shame on you.

  41. eileen lee

    I I loved it what a lovely child

  42. john

    the truth hurts! at least someone has the balls to say it! good on ya Dento.

  43. Andrea

    Loved it! Wonderful to see her flourishing! Good luck to her in the future.

  44. Lizard

    Child with autism, not autistic. Person first language would be better :)

  45. Terry Taylor

    Applause to Jodi, her family, those who choose to work with children who are autistic and to Katy Perry as well. No matter what your affliction is you can find your road, as long as there is at least one person who loves you and cares about you ! I know because my Grandson has Aspergers’ Syndrome and his progress so far has been AMAZING !

  46. Tom V

    A disorder is a disease by definition:

    a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

    Disease is not a negative word, it’s a medical term used to describe something. You shouldn’t be calling people idiots about using the term correctly.

    I applaud Katy Perry for not only the performance but in the proper way of sharing this moment with Jodi after the song. Jodi has such a wonderful voice and a true musical gift. When I hear Fireworks again, I’ll hear the lyrics so much differently.

  47. Frank

    OK pianist, not a very good singer.

  48. Katie

    I wasn’t moved at all. I just see a perfectly normal girl who is a very talented pianio player. Tha’ts it. She’s perfectly fine now. My daughter is 8 and NOT autistic and has worst temper tauntrums!

  49. Yeah- easy to say Katie when you haven’t lived with it! Your child has tantrums because there is something going on with her neurologically, physically, or emotionally. You need to look at yourself as her parent and what you have done to allow that behavior.

    There are many reasons why children have tantrums. If one of my typically developing children had a tantrum (a 7 year old or a 10 year old) I would take full responsibility for the way I have raised my children and teach them to respect me and my rules. My 12 year old with Autism has tantrums because something is hurting him or he is not capable of communicating what he wants or needs- or maybe it is a SEIZURE. You should NEVER assume something you have NEVER experienced. There are a whole host of issues that children that have Autism also have. It is called co-morbidity.

    Not being “moved” just tells how disconnected you are from humanity- It is unfortunate but there are too many parents that didn’t get the “handbook” on how to raise a child to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Unless you throw tantrums yourself….?

    BTW- she is NOT “Autistic”. Saying she is “Autistic” implies that is a disorder, not WHO she is. Having Autism allows her to make the choice to behave a certain way….she has worked her whole life to overcome the urges she has to behave certain ways or to calm herself down when her anxiety takes over. Autism allows her brain to function differently. And it isn’t an easy path. It is confusing, painful- physically and emotionally, and it changes the very foundation of the ENTIRE family. Life is NEVER easy or “perfectly fine”. So NEVER assume you know until you walk in someone’s shoes that lives with Autism every moment.

    There are many famous artists, inventors, doctors and highly educated people that have changed the world because of Autism. Open your heart and open your mind.

  50. Amma

    I have a grandaughter who is autisic. And yes, I did cry too.
    Jody reminds me of my Kyra, so much. What a terrific child she is. Wish I lived closer to her so I could enjoy he as she grows up

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