Just weeks before the premiere of American Horror Story: Hotel, Lady Gaga surprised fans with the release of a new song and music video, titled “Til It Happens to You.”
The song, which Gaga recorded earlier this year with Diane Warren for the documentary The Hunting Ground, focuses on the subject of college campus rape and sexual assault.
The emotional video, directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), was shot entirely in black and white and depicts several women being assaulted at fraternity parties and in dorm rooms. The women are then shown crying and writing phrases like, “Believe me” and “Sometimes I hate myself” on their arms before being comforted by their loved ones. Hardwicke also enlisted actress Nikki Reed for the music video, with whom she previously worked with on Twilight and Thirteen.
The video is prefaced with a title card that reads, “The following contains graphic content that may be emotionally unsettling but reflects the reality of what is happening daily on college campuses,” and ends with the statistic, “One in five women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes.”
In 2014, Gaga, 29, revealed during an interview with Howard Stern that she was raped by a music producer when she was 19.
“I went through some horrific things,” Gaga said. “I’m able to laugh now because I’ve gone through a lot of mental and physical therapy and emotional therapy to heal over the years.”
The “Born This Way” singer tweeted that the song and music video were made “for people all over the world who suffer from painful life experiences.”
We hope u feel our love&solidarity through the song & perhaps find some peace in knowing u r not alone through this film #TilItHappensToYou— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) September 18, 2015
A portion of the proceeds from “Til It Happens to You” will be donated to organizations helping survivors of sexual assault.
Watch the powerful music video above.