“I don’t really know how to do a speech unless it rhymes,” the singer, real name Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, confessed; she thus launched into “A Story Like Mine”, a painful, guttural cry that demanded to know why experiences like hers were seemingly shared by every single woman she knows.
Her poem opened on the image of her sitting in the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood with a friend who’d been assaulted by someone who worked at their school, before recounting abuse she’d personally experienced – a boyfriend who forced her to have sex because “this much I owe to him”, or performing right after a miscarriage. Even her rise to fame could not protect her, Halsey shared, as she cried out: “What do you mean, this happened to me?”
“It’s 2018 and I’ve realised, nobody is safe long as she is alive,” she continued. “And every friend that I know has a story like mine. And the world tells me we should take it as a compliment.”
Yet, her poem also brought hope, through the work of heroes like the athletes and Olympians, including Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney, who have faced the team doctor who allegedly abused them, Larry Nassar. Or artists like Lady Gaga, who have used their art to speak up about their experiences.
"This is the beginning, it is not the finale," she continued. "Ask her story and then shut up and listen. Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian. Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs. Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues... Lord knows, there's a war to be won."
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