A large portion of the time, pop stars make headlines for doing or saying an awful lot of bollocks. While the migrant crisis rages on, Ariana Grande was embroiled in a hard-hitting back and forth about a donut she licked. Demi Lovato’s ‘mug-gate’ (where the singer answered that her favourite dish was “a mug”), meanwhile, was one of the week’s most talked about stories. They might have a global platform to voice their innermost thoughts, desires and fears, but a lot of pop stars use it questionably.
For a long time Lady Gaga arguably existed in this category too. From wearing a dress made of meat to being spitroasted and vomited on during a gig, the singer’s headlines were some of the most ludicrous of all. Now, however, Gaga has decided to use her shock power for good and ‘Til It Happens To You’ is the result.
Written for documentary film The Hunting Ground, the song tackles the film’s topic of sexual violence to young women on US college campuses and presents it with a stark, upsetting video that doesn’t shy away from the truth.
The track itself is a somber piano ballad befitting of the topic with lyrics that depict the frustration of being told to pick yourself up and carry on by people who couldn’t possibly understand your situation. The video, meanwhile, is a brutal, monochrome rendering of the topic, with harrowing scenes of girls being sexually abused. Crucially, at the end, with a strong support network around them their fear and doubt turns into strength.
As the video finishes, we’re told that “one in five college women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes”. It’s a horrifying figure, but one that people need to know. And the fact that one of the biggest stars on the planet is using her platform to help change it with a unflinching video that forces you to take note can only be a positive thing.