Brooke Shapiro is the founder and editor-in-chief of The F-Word Blog. She enjoys listening to 90’s R&B, having spontaneous dance parties, and studying feminism in film.
Last weekend, my a cappella group, The Pink Panthers, competed at the International Championship of High School A Cappella Quarterfinals. We decided to construct a set of three songs around an issue that means a lot to us as an all-female group and as individuals.
We truly believe that the purpose of creating music is to convey a message that is meaningful, powerful, and impactful. That’s why we chose to make our music about sexual assault and its effects on the females who fall victim to it.
We put our blood, sweat, and tears (especially tears. We cried a lot) into this set. After talking about the meaning behind each of our songs and what that meant to each of us personally for hours, we realized that we had so much to say about this topic and wanted to address it beyond the music.
I wrote some spoken word about using our voices and taking action for women everywhere, which we then incorporated into our set. Though we received third place and were not chosen to move on to the next round, this entire journey was so powerful and moving for each of us. We began to understand each other on a deeper level than before, as well as what it truly means to be female right now.
Watching every girl in The Pink Panthers step outside of her comfort zone and use her voice to make an important contribution defined this experience for me and inspired me in ways words can’t even describe. I’ll never forget what it felt like to be on stage among such strong and amazing girls.
Because my microphone was off for the majority of our set and most of the spoken word I wrote went unheard, I really wanted to share our set and words with you all. Please enjoy:
when we stand together
we are so much stronger
our voices united
are more powerful than our voices alone
we’re shamed into silence
because the system is systematically against us
there’s no escape, nowhere to hide
instead, we learn to associate love with fear and pain
and trust no one, not even ourselves
it’s time to do more than just listen
it’s time to break the silence and be a voice
for the girls who had to grow up way too young
we still have battles to fight and songs to sing
but despite what has happened,
we’ve come out the other end alive
your time is up
our time is now
the abuse, the pain, it all ends right here
so no one ever has to say me too again.