Written by Amber Schormans
You may remember Jessie J from the glorious days of 2011 with songs Price Tag and the ever still relevant Who You Are. For me, those days were filled with GCSE’s and the even more important... should I post on Facebook about whether my friends think I should have a full fringe or a side fringe? I think I went with both in the end – once my full fringe grew out I transformed it into a very glam side fringe. I remember drowning it in Tesco hairspray so it stayed perfectly in the same place, despite the fact it looked more like a rock than hair. Anyway, I’m sure we all remember those days and similar experiences. Looking back now I wish I really listened to the lyrics of some of her songs because they are so positive. Maybe I wouldn’t have been quite so hard on myself in my appearance and future goals.
Life went on and we had our ups and downs and focused on different things. I’m going to be totally honest in that I mostly forgot about Jessie J after roughly 2013-ish as she didn’t release a huge amount of new music during this time. Then a few months ago at the HerRunway event as part of LFW, Her Own Brown put on an incredible and empowering performance. In a previous blog post I explain more about this, but this was my first introduction the song Queen. It has since become one of my favourite songs, ever. I have never heard a piece of music that was so empowering with such true encouragement of self-love and confidence. Especially one that didn’t involve being attractive for men or relationships. If you haven’t heard the song, please listen to it and believe in the lyrics. You are a goddess and a queen.
The song Queen is from Jessie’s latest album R.O.S.E, for which she is currently doing a world tour. I hadn’t really thought too much about it until my friend Liah said she had tickets for her birthday and asked if I wanted to go. Of course, I said yes! The show was in Southend, a fairly small venue (compared to her shows in places like the Royal Albert Hall a few days before) at the Cliffs Pavilion. Jessie is a fellow Essex gal herself, and did talk a little during the show about how proud she was of her roots and how far she’s come, and that we should also never give up on our own dreams. Anyway, we had a full and long working week and drove to venue straight after finishing. We were ok for time but needed to find the loo so we went in the back entrance (also mostly assuming a lot of others had also gone in this way). The kind ladies in the cloak room directed us to the nearest chippy where we managed to quickly eat and prep for the show. Although not before getting lost in someone’s garden in the dark, neither me or Liah are great with directions but this was pretty funny at the time! We then navigated our way back through the entrance to the stage door where everyone else seemed to be, then in a sheer panic realised everybody had wrist bands on and we didn’t which was all quite confusing. We found our way to the main entrance to trade our tickets for wrist bands only to realised we had completely accidentally skipped the entire queue outside. After much anticipation, the doors opened and we ran into the hall to somehow have managed to be three people from the front with everyone who had priority tickets.
We didn’t really know what to expect in all honesty, but when she came out we couldn’t quite believe it. There she was, right in front of us. Literally, it was incredible. I’m still surprised we managed to get so lucky, this kind of stuff never happens to me. Her talent was bursting out of her with every note, she is such an incredible performer. But the thing that most got me was how down to earth she is. You could see how genuine and thankful she was for every moment. She also made sure to give every member of the band their moment and show her appreciation for them. She is one of the few people using every part of her fame for good, and I for one and am so thankful for it. We are so in need of totally real and empowering female inspirations in the public eye. You may have all heard the rumours about Jessie J and Channing Tatum now being a ‘thing’. Well across the media there were stories of comparison between her and Channing’s ex-wife Jenna Dewan, and Jessie totally called them out on it. Saying women are not objects to compare and we are all beautiful in our way and that we should be empowering each other, not tearing each other down. See the full post about it on her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqQR5FRH3LK/
In total, I think I cried around 3 times, I also turned to see Liah emotional a few times too. Her words and her songs just meant so much. During one part of the performance I’m pretty sure the entire audience were in tears. She sang Who You Are and then passed the microphone to one of the younger girls on the front row, who had been through a lot and Jessie asked her to sing it to herself. She took a moment during the surprise and I’d imagine pressure of singing in front of a few thousand people. The voice that came out was just unexplainable, there was so much passion, power and talent. It was unbelievable. Especially paired along with the words:
Don't lose who you are, in the blur of the stars Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing It's okay not to be okay Sometimes it's hard, to follow your heart Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising Just be true to who you are
During my favourite song Queen she also asked the audience to sing it to themselves. We need to know how strong, beautiful and amazing we are. And for me, Jessie J has been a new part of encouraging that. We are filled with such negative and contradicting energy all the time from so many aspects of the modern world and women and young girls especially don’t know where to turn. With so much self-doubt and self-loathing it is so unbelievably refreshing and empowering to have had this experience. I hope that in this blog post I can share with you all the feelings I have had and encourage you to listen to her music. We need more empowerment and I cannot think of a better advocate than Jessie. She doesn’t pretend to be anyone other than who she is. She embraces every part of her and we should all embrace every part of ourselves.
love your body, love your skin, you are a goddess, you are a queen.
All images were taken by myself or Liah Aldous.