Over the last few months, it seems every time I scroll through my Twitter feed, or walk into a studio session, I hear stories about another influential man who has abused his power.
“Oh yeah, that guy’s a creep,” or maybe even as a far as “I saw that one coming.” Everybody knew, and nobody said anything, because of the assumed consequences. You won’t get that record deal, or you’ll get shelved from the one you have. He won’t interview you on his radio station or the red carpet. Your career will be over if you say this or do that.
I mean, what do you even say to someone who has been sexually assaulted?
Tarana Burke first said “me too,” twenty years ago. The simple message that has since inspired the massive movement online that victims globally have boldly and bravely added their voice to since October 2017.
For me, the right words were “I believe you.” Like the day my best friend confessed, that while we were in high school, her boss attacked her during a late night shift. Like the time my classmate came into my room and informed me she had been raped in her dorm. Like the time a member on my own team had to take a meeting with the man that harassed her as an intern, and like the close collaborator of mine who shared her story of sexual assault by her very own manager.
I believe you. I believe you. I believe you. I believe you.
This song is for all of the amazing women I work with every day who have been felt up, shut up and kicked down. And for all the women whose stories I haven’t heard, this song was made to let them know that I’m listening, we all are.
For weeks, I had been trying to write this and just couldn’t find the right way to do it. After hundreds of lyric ideas on my iPhone and various voice memos with different co-writers, it wasn’t until I talked for hours with my co-writer Lauren Aquilina that I felt our story of strength and solidarity was heard.
Time’s up. No more inequality that incites violence, and no more silence.
Just weeks ago, the Grammys’ Neil Portnow called on women in music to ‘step up’ - as if we’ve been willingly sitting down, welcomed, or set up for success. As many female executives stated in their request for his resignation, "We do not await your welcome into the fraternity. We do not have to sing louder, jump higher or be nicer to prove ourselves."
Where are our male counterparts and collaborators? Where are our male allies and advocates for constructive change? We need women AND men to step up in this fight for equality.
We need safer studio spaces so we can empower female producers, much like the incredible Alex Hope who helped bring this song to life, to chase their dreams.
We need labels to drop abusers, and streaming services to withhold from playlisting their music that will be exposed to millions of young girls millions of listeners across the world.
We need more female managers and executives making the decisions that have a direct effect on our safety and future.
Women should be empowered to be whatever they want to be, and to accomplish whatever it is they set out to do. I look forward to the day that the strong voices of #MeToo will not be afraid of the consequences for speaking up, and to the day that women are valued for their voices, intellect, talent, and minds rather than their bodies.
Time’s up for the sexual violence and the silence that surrounds it.
Time’s up for gender inequality.
You are seen, you are heard, and we are taking action.
The proceeds of this song will be donated to Time’s Up legal defense fund for Women’s History Month.
Because for us, the time is right fucking now.
We believe you.
I believe you,