Halsey at Women's March

On January 20th, famous singer-songwriter, Halsey, performed a poem at the Women’s March in New York City.

“It’s 2009 and I’m 14 and I’m crying,” Halsey started to speak, “Not really sure where I am but I’m holding the hand of my best friend Sam in the waiting room of Planned Parenthood.” As she speaks, you can see her hands shaking from how nervous she was. You can hear in her voice the pain that follows with the rest of her poem.

“You see, my best friend Sam was raped by a man that we knew ‘cause he worked in the after-school program and he held her down with her textbook beside her and he covered her mouth and came inside her.” Halsey’s words grew softer as if the memory were replaying in her head as if it had just happened yesterday.

Halsey left some pauses every so often, wondering where her poem would go next, goosebumps rising on our arms from the intensity.

“It’s 2002 and my family just moved and the only people I know are my mom’s friends, Sue, and her son. He’s got a case of Matchbox cars and he says he’ll teach me to play the guitar if I just keep quiet.” Sharing her experience just once.

But then she kept on speaking. “And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 will haunt me in my sleep for as long as I am alive. And I’m too young to know why it aches in my thighs, but I must lie, I must lie.” Her words grow softer as she shares with the world about lying.

Continuing on she spoke, “It’s 2012 and I’m dating a guy and I sleep in his bed and I just learned how to drive. And he’s older than me and he drinks whiskey neat and he’s paying for everything. This adult thing is not cheap,” trying to add a little bit of humor into the subject of the matter, pausing before continuing. “We’ve been fighting a lot, almost 10 times a week. And he wants to have sex, and I just want to sleep. He says I can’t say no to him, this much I owe him. He buys me dinner, so I have to blow him. He’s taken to forcing me down on my knees. And I’m confused ‘cause he’s hurting me while he says please.”

As I listen to her speak on my computer screen, I watch her share her story, I can’t help but start crying.

“It’s 2017 and I live like a queen,” Halsey spoke, “And I’ve followed damn near every one of my dreams. I’m invincible and I’m so f***ing naive. I believe I’m protected ‘cause I live on a screen. Nobody would date act that way around me. I’ve earned my protection, eternally clean. Until a man that I trust gets his hands in my pants. But I don’t want none of that, I just wanted to dance. And I wake up the next morning like I’m in a trance and there’s blood. Is that my blood?”

Now I’ve stopped crying and I’m holding my breath. A woman who is praised on social media, on cover of magazines, touring the world to sold out shows, her story still continues. Even when she thought she was protected.

“I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage. I mean, I piped the piper, I put on a diaper and sang my spleen to a room full of teens. What do you mean this happened to me? You can’t put your hands on me. You don’t know what my body has been through. I’m supposed to be safe now. I earned it.”

There is anger in her voice as she shares her confusion on how something this horrific could still be happening to her.

“It’s 2018 and I’ve realized nobody is safe long as she is alive. And every friend that I know has a story like mine.”

Her speech moved everyone who watched it. I even saw posts on social media that said they could relate to her story, that they too had similar events happen. As she continued her speech, you can tell she wants to see a change, that that’s one of her reasons for marching.

She ended her speech preaching, “So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly, 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, for the people who had to grow up way too young. There is work to be done. There are songs to be sung. Lord know there’s a war to be won.”

As the crowd screams and my video ends and I’m wiping my eyes from the tears, I admire her. Standing up in front of the world and sharing some of the hardest times of your life is a challenge.

Halsey, I have been a fan of yours since I was 15. Each day you continue to blow me away with your words and your actions. We stand not only with you but everyone else who has a story like yours.

If you would like to see the rest of Halsey’s empowering speech, click the link below!