Holding Back the River & Parting the Sea… 


If we were to start to list the incredible milestones we have achieved as citizens of the world in recent decades, the list would be long and impressive. With two steps forward there is often one step back, but I like to consider myself as a ‘glass half full’ person. There are many horrible atrocities in the world, but there are also some beautiful improvements to how we ethically conduct ourselves as humans on this planet.

 

Some of my favourites in my lifetime include:

  • the legalization of gay marriage in some parts of the world
  • the end of residential schools in Canada which have caused much suffering to many of our First Nations communities
  • the legalization of abortions in Ireland (I met a young musician during one of my trips overseas who had to seek an illegal abortion for him and his girlfriend just a couple years ago. It was a real eye-opener for me as a Canadian.)
  • the #MeToo Movement.

 

We are currently in the throws of the #MeToo Movement – a movement that recognizes the suffering of so many sexual harassment and assault victims and strives to publicly acknowledge the wrong-doing by so many people in power and otherwise. There are many perpetrators and there are many, many more victims.

#MeToo has created an opportunity for us to shed light on this huge issue in Canada, the U.S. and the rest of the world.

I have never really considered myself a feminist. I believe I am a humanist. I want equal rights for all people, no matter gender identity, age, race, social or financial status. There is a need to create equality in our world on a multitude of levels, however #MeToo focuses specifically on victims of sexual assault.

 

As you can imagine, I have my own story of sexual harassment and assault.

Although I feel like I’ve been very fortunate in many ways, I have suffered in my male dominated industry. Having said this, for the most part I believe I have had the good fortune of working with some of the finest males ever put on this planet.

I have been blessed with wonderful, supportive bandmates who have also doubled as security when needed. Unfortunately, no one can protect you at all times and I have a list of stories (like many other female musicians) that would make your skin crawl. Over the years, I’ve learned to handle myself better in potentially threatening situations and much of the naiveté I once had has disappeared. In many ways, I’m a tough cookie.

 

 

 

 

It had been long decided that my video for “Hold Back the River” (the third single from my ‘In Between’ album) would be shot at the now closed Kingston Penitentiary. Director Jay Middaugh had the brilliant idea for the venue and my awesome manager Gord Hunter quickly started the emails and phone calls to make access to the location a reality (I have an awesome team!). Jay, Gord and I had shuffled around a few loose ideas for plot but hadn’t landed on anything specific that we loved. It was only a couple weeks or so before our video shoot that it occurred to me this was an opportunity to make an impact in an important way. What if we were to use the prison as a metaphor and fill it with women of all ages and backgrounds? What if we could use the short film to create a sense of community and hope out of what has held so many of us prisoner for so many years? Our own truths being set free. Our own sufferings being acknowledged and an opportunity to unchain ourselves from those crippling stories.

 

The #MeToo Movement has provided an opportunity for women who have suffered sexual harassment and  assaults to band together and publicly acknowledge that the time for letting these heinous crimes happen is up. We will no longer be silent in our suffering and we will support each other on the road to healing. We will call out our offenders. We will not stand for the mistreatment any longer.

 

I would like to dedicate our video for “Hold Back the River” to its participants, some of whom were very assionate expressing how the experience filming this piece was an important opportunity for them on their own journey of healing. On October 29th, 2018, some very brave people took over a negative, cold, dark and challenging space. We infused that space with love, a sense of community and light for those who have suffered. We set out to make some sort of difference in our own way and with nearly 20,000 views via YouTube & Facebook this past week since the video was released, I believe we have created our own little ripple.

 

I wrote “Hold Back the River” about hope – about believing in what might seem impossible and having enthusiastic faith and confidence in the changes we want to see. We each have the capacity to make a positive change in this world. We will improve things for generations to come.

 

Also, my friends – You are not alone.

#MeToo

 

MANAGER – Gord Hunter – management@themissemily.com

PUBLICIST – Eric Alper – eric@thatericalper.com

MERCHANDISE – Jude Murano – missemilymerch@gmail.com

SOCIAL MEDIA – Amanda Relyea-Voss – amanda@remixsm.com 

ARTIST – Miss Emily: emily@emilyfennell.com 

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