Phoebe Bridgers has written an essay for Rolling Stone paying tribute to the late Sinéad O’Connor.
“Even before I heard Sinéad’s music, I knew she was a revolutionary,” the boygenius member writes. “I was obsessed with her and the ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ video. I even had a very, very short-shaved head in high school. I definitely shaved it for her.”
Bridgers also mentions O’Connor’s song “Black Boys on Mopeds,” which she’s covered, as an example of her ability to write genuine protest songs.
“Sinéad always believed things that she actually believed, not things she was told to believe by somebody else, even if it was completely subversive,” Bridges says.
That conviction, of course, led to the infamous moment when O’Connor tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II during her 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live.
“History is on her side in a way it wasn’t at the time,” Bridgers writes. “People and the media were not nice to her. She was ostracized from so many things, and so many people thought she was a grumpy person.”
“It’s abuse to be told to shut up and sing,” she continues. “It’s abuse to be worshiped and then hated. It’s such a sad and heartbreaking story. Behind every famous woman are tons and tons of rape and death threats. She made a huge sacrifice for women and for musicians and for people who believe in things. She was so not rewarded for it.”
Bridgers concludes that O’Connor “made me feel like I was allowed to stand for things.”
“It’s still hard, but I feel so lucky to be in a landscape where I can feel validated and my beliefs are taken seriously,” Bridgers says. “And that world exists because of Sinéad’s sacrifice.”
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