VIDEO: Arielle Jacobs Won't Go Speechless in Music Video for New ALADDIN Ballad
Broadway's very own Princess Jasmine, Arielle Jacobs, won't go speechless. The Aladdin star recently recorded her own version of "Speechless"- a song written by Alan Menken, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for the new Aladdin film. Check out the brand new music video and read her blog entry, written on the day of the the video shoot below.
There are days that change your life forever. There are days that bring a new awareness into your psyche that will affect the way you see the world from now on. Today was one of those days.
My experience of being a woman has always been connected, in one way or another, to a feeling of deep isolation. Like the way that we're encouraged to dress in way that makes us feel confident...but also "appropriate". You know: "Look nice, and put together, and sexy (...but not slutty)". Wear mascara and do your hair if you want to look fresh and like you care about your appearance (because if you don't do your makeup, it'll seem like you don't care about how you look....and not in a cool "I don't care what other people think about me" self-confident-swagger-kind-of-way).
I've been groped in public. I've watched as my best friends in middle school started a school-wide club called "All Against Arielle" because "they thought it would be funny." I've been sexually assaulted and blamed myself...because I let myself drink too much earlier that night. I've felt judged by other women because there was an unspoken competition between us when it came to the attention of someone we both cared for. I've had men who were dear long-term friends never speak to me again when they told me they were interested in me romantically and I told them that I loved them like a brother but that was it. And I've felt the deep sadness that followed as I wondered if they were only so present with me because they wanted something besides our friendship. Was I not interesting, smart, fun, or cool enough for someone to want to have me in their life- just for being me? Was I not a good enough friend to be loved as a friend even though I didn't want to date them? I've been in awe of another woman's entrancing charisma and asked myself: "How is she so passionate and beautiful and bright? Why can't I be magnetic and effortless and endlessly bouyant too?". And I've felt a dark shade of self-loathing when I realized I was jealous. There's a fine line between feeling inspired by someone's greatness and feeling like you are drowning by comparison, isn't there? I've been there.
I've felt all of these things and yet, I always thought they were just normal parts of life that I felt alone. They were just Arielle things.
I think that when girls are growing up...bad things normally happen when we're alone. A parent or adult being mean. A bully. There are the rare instances like "All Against Arielle" where it's a public widespread meanness but...in general...these things happen from an early age in isolation.
But, there wasn't any time in my childhood for girls to come together to talk about these things. There weren't "girl-groups" or any situation where we talked about these experiences or just the experience of being a girl with another group of girls. And if someone was being mean there was usually an implicit understanding that it was either A) your fault or B) that the right solution was to shrink so that you wouldn't be seen and targeted again. Our pain becomes a personal burden and, worst of all, starts to feel like it's "just life". That that's just how things are and so it must not be that big of a deal because no one is fussing about it.
I've long understood that the lack of shared space for girls to share their experiences is a problem. That's why, many years ago, I started The Girls Camaraderie Project (or GCP for short). An organization which holds girls-only workshops and seminars in schools to try and create camaraderie rather than competition amongst middle school girls. I started GCP in the hope that girls around the world would feel safe and supported around one another, instead of feeling silently competitive or self-critical. I knew that women and girls were craving the support of a Sisterhood because, when people doubt themselves and their worth, they isolate themselves. I do the same thing.
After "All Against Arielle" I pretty much started hanging out with boys. They were polite, fun, friendly, and that sense of competition and judgement wasn't there. They were protective over me. I felt safer. I was well into my adulthood before I began to trust other women and feel as seen by them as I had felt by my male friends growing up.
Because of my experiences as a young girl, I've long understood that girls crave the space to feel connected to and supported by other girls, to heal any judgement that they feel towards themselves. The ways that they feel isolated. That's why I founded the GCP.
I thought I knew.
But today was surprising.
I witnessed and felt a visceral expression of the universal pain, anger, and frustration that women are holding within.
The times we've been dealt the lower hand in any masculine power dynamic.
The times we were told that we don't deserve the same salary as others in our workplace.
The times we were told that our anger or frustration in any situation must be a symptom of "that time of the month."
Or that we throw a ball like a girl.
Or that our wants, our desires, and our dreams... are just that.
These are the things we put up with silently.
Isolated in our quiet corners because we don't want to rock the boat.
Or we don't want to be called "crazy".
Or because we don't want to risk being attacked verbally or physically.
But we also don't want to wallow in it because, if we think about it too much, we would be too depressed.
So we don't act to change things, or speak up, and we act like it's normal because if it's normal we don't need to feel the pain of how abnormal and awful that treatment actually is.
And yet...we don't see how EVERY SINGLE WOMAN shares the same history.
I can see that now. I can see every woman speaking these words. And the power that fuels them is the Truth of every woman's personal journey to this exact moment. To this breath. Herstory is Common and it's Real and it bonds all of us together in a deep sisterhood.
I'm forever changed because I finally understand just how alike we are. Women and girls don't want to swallow their minds and hearts. But it happens. Way too often. And now, whenever I see a woman that I don't know, I connect to her unspoken pain... ...She is a stranger... ....but she's Not. She's a woman. I can imagine her saying the words of this song. "I won't be silenced." "I won't go speechless." And, when she opens her mouth, I can feel her voice resonate in every cell of my body. Because we are one. Her story is my story. Herstory is the awareness that we are not alone.
Who knows when the future will change and humanity's story will allow those who have long been oppressed to breathe the same air as the privileged. The clean air of freedom and a recognition of the beautiful truth of their incredible worth. Who knows when society will shift, and our shared pain will transform into a shared anger, that will transform into a shared grief, that will transform into a shared rage- that will raise our cries into one voice to sound the call to action that will finally help us create the world we all deserve. Right now, it can feel hopeless. But I finally feel hope. Because after today... All I know is... We won't go speechless.
Arielle previously starred on Broadway in In The Heights (Nina) across from creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and in Wicked (Nessa). Regional: Rent (Mimi); Into the Woods (The Bakers Wife). Arielle originated the roles of (Farhad) in Farhad, or the Secret of Being Off-Broadway, (Gabriella) in the National Tour of Disney's High School Musical, (Nina) in the 1st National Tour of In The Heights, and (Jasmine) in the Australian company of Disney's Aladdin. She's performed on many of America's greatest stages including Lincoln Center in NYC and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
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