Angel Haze just played her second ever London gig. I went and it was amazing. Apart from smashing every single song, making a violin the most street thing ever and rapping the hell out of Otis with Iggy Azalea (in real life, she was there), there is another reason why it was amazing. Here it is:
Something hugely important has started to happen in recent years. Women are talking. And not about shoes, hand bags, make up and clothes. We’re talking about violence, self hate and disrespect. We’re talking about everyday sexism, a false sense of equality and the ever present glass ceiling. For years, women have been told to shut up and we’ve had enough.
So when Angel Haze comes along and speaks extremely candidly about her history of sexual abuse (she did this track live for the first time tonight), it’s a massive cultural milestone. Yes it’s shocking, at times it’s even a little bit disgusting. But what’s disgusting and shocking isn’t her, it’s the person that took advantage of a child. The person that abused their power to get their own way. The person who treated another human being without an ounce of respect. What’s even worse, is the reason we all find it so hard to hear is because the victims have suffered alone for so long.
And while all the journalists in the world can write about the wrongs of abuse, a young teenager is far more likely to be sat in their room listening to music than reading The Times. So what happens when a young girl who’s been taken advantage of, abused or disrespected hears Haze’s words? She realises that it’s wrong, it’s okay to talk and she’s not alone. And suddenly there’s a chance of life being all right. Because Angel Haze survived and is excellent, brilliant and talented.
The Jimmy Savile scandal was kept under wraps because the victims – young girls – were afraid to speak out. So he carried on. He carried on and on and on, abusing his power while maintaining a squeaky clean public image. He lived the lifestyle of a king, yet underneath it all he was lower than dirt. And what did that teach those young girls? That men can do what they want and get away with it. That girls are there to keep quiet and never make a fuss. That they are to be seen and not heard.
But thanks to the likes of Angel Haze there is a new generation being taught to shout out loud. And in ten years time, they will be the ones in charge. So make this mark the beginning of the end of years and years and years of silence. Not just for the horrific ordeals, also the everyday. Let’s make this ‘new wave of feminism’ one of the last.