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Lady Gaga has never been an artist to shy away from controversy and her latest video may be her most shocking and most important yet. Til It Happens To You is an honest look at the horrifying trend of sexual assault on college and university campuses, with the stories of four women interwoven throughout the video.
Shot in black and white by Twilight and Red Riding Hood director Catherine Hardwicke, the video focuses on three different stories of assault on campus, including women being assaulted by friends and after being drugged at parties. Til It Happens To You features a large cast of young actors taking on graphic scenes, with the most famous face belonging to Nikki Reed, who previously worked with Hardwicke on Twilight and Thirteen.
The short film shows the act and aftereffects of sexual assault on campus, dismissing pandering terms, while still giving viewers a sense of hope with the video’s conclusion.
Although Til It Happens To You is difficult to watch, it’s incredibly important for an artist like Gaga with such a huge platform to help shine a light on the topic and remind survivors that they’re not alone. Gaga herself has shared her own experience, helping to break the stigma on speaking out about sexual assault.
The moving piano ballad was a collaboration between Gaga and Grammy winning songwriter Diane Warren and was written in support of the documentary The Hunting Ground, which looks at the epidemic of rape on college campuses.
Watch Lady Gaga’s music video for Til It Happens To You below. (Trigger Warning)