by Tennille Amor
I haven't sent an update email in a while, but I just put out a new video for 'Bad Name,' a song that I wrote a long time ago, but was uncertain about whether I would release it. It is the most personal I have ever been in my music, and I have been apprehensive about allowing myself to be that vulnerable. But with everything happening around the #metoo movement, and with an ever-expanding list of women coming forward to share their stories, I felt compelled to share one of mine.
I performed the song and showed the video for the first time at an event for the Kota Alliance at the Ambassador of Finland to the United Nations's home in New York last Wednesday. My friend (and colleague in the advancement of Gender Equality), Richard Lui, from MSNBC invited me to perform, and it ended up being an extremely moving night.
I shared my story about 'Bad Name,' and my apprehensions about releasing it, and then performed 'I Am a Girl,' as a reminder of the strength and resilience of women, and our ability to pick ourselves up and move on from the difficult experiences in our lives.
Almost every person there came up to me afterwards to say that they connected deeply to both songs, and some shared experiences of their own. A woman in her 50s told me that she had experienced something similar with an ex-boyfriend when she was in her 20s, and said that she never talks about it because she has carried so much shame around what happened for so many years. She said that me sharing my story lifted such a huge weight from her, and made her feel like she wasn't alone. We both shed a few tears of connection, and shared one of the warmest, most powerful hugs. Her husband then came over and thanked me for my bravery, and told me how incredible it was, and how much it made him think. And in that moment, everything that I am doing made sense to me.
Another woman who spoke before I performed said that through her organization, they meet with so many women who are afraid of coming forward with their stories, because they live in countries where talking about sexual harassment and sexual assault, or anything sexual in nature is taboo. She said that they are not supported by their families, because the family doesn't want to have to deal with the shame of what happened, and often times the girls/women are blamed for leading the man on, and accused of causing him to behave in that way. This of course is not just an issue between men and women. A lot of men are survivors of sexual assault and harassment as well.
After my performance, another couple came up to me and said that they have 3 daughters, and they are going to go home and play my videos for them, and use the videos as tools to educate their daughters about the meaning of consent, and the importance of Female Empowerment and Gender Equality. The dad looked at me square in the eyes and told me, "Don't stop what you are doing, it is SO IMPORTANT that you keep going."
Those were only a few of the stories, just hours after putting out the video, but they were enough to remind me why I feel compelled to use my platform in this way. I know I will receive backlash for being so outspoken, and I know that some people may not agree with my approach, but I wouldn't be myself if I tried to fit into the constraints placed on me by other people.
If you connect to the video in any way, and would like to share it with your network, or on your platform, please feel free. My hope is to start a healthy conversation around the topic of consent with this.
If you reach out to me and don't hear back right away, it is because I am traveling to India tomorrow to perform and speak, and then going to Trinidad for Christmas with my family. I'm hoping to have wifi on the plane, or good wifi when I get to India, but if not, I will respond as soon as I get a chance.
Thank you so much for your continued support and love. So many of you have been in my corner through the highs and the lows and I am forever grateful for that. I couldn't do what I'm doing without you.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and looking forward to building more memories together in 2018.
Tennille Amor x