Country music planted a flag in the ground with respect to the #MeToo movement at the year's CMA Awards, when one of the genre's biggest stars, Keith Urban, debuted his track "Female." It was obvious why Urban would feel he has skin in the game; his wife, Nicole Kidman, is a noted actress who has starred in multiple films produced by Harvey Weinstein, including Cold Mountain, Lion, and The Others. Kidman hasn't spoken publicly about any negative experiences in her career (though she did denounce Weinstein's actions and praise women who are speaking out against him), Aaron Sorkin revealed he was once asked to write a sex scene for Nicole Kidman by being given the direction to write what he would like to see her do. That is a prime example of what happens when an industry has an ingrained idea that it is fine to dehumanize women by paying them less, by giving them lesser jobs, and by treating them as objects.
It could have ended there, with Urban's singularly relevant statement song, but it hasn't. Husband and wife duo, Haley & Michaels (that is Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels) released a song of their own inspired by their reaction to the #MeToo movement. Though it is not the first song written about the movement, it is the first song so far to use the term "me too" directly.
About writing the song, Haley & Michaels tell Refinery29, "We were very inspired and moved by the 'Me Too' movement and the strength it shows and gives to others. We’ve always been driven to write about things that have impacted us and moved us deeply. It’s the best way we know how to express ourselves. We’ve always hoped that creating music can be healing for others in the way that music has been healing for us. "
The song is relatable from myriad viewpoints, from the observer who simply can't stomach the allegations they see every night on the news, to survivors struggling to process these stories or tell their own stories, to those who just want a redo on a moment they feel haunted by in their past. It's a morose but empowering statement of solidarity that bolsters the voices of accusers in the #MeToo movement — and seems to be a "Me Too" statement from Haley & Michaels.
"The 'Me Too' movement captures the message of unity and supporting one another. Our hope is that when people hear our song, they will feel the core message of the 'Me Too' movement; that they are not alone," the duo say.
The #MeToo movement hasn't strongly impacted music yet, with post-Weinstein accusations most notably leveled at Russell Simmons, Sean Carlson of FYF Fest, and country music publicist Kirt Webster while well-known sexual predators who have long faced accusations — R. Kelly and XXTentacion top a long list — have faced maddeningly slow or irritatingly few consequences.
Maybe it won't be the music industry or music journalism that becomes the voice of #MeToo. Perhaps in this art form, the microphone will be given directly to the artists.
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