Those of me who know me, also know that I like to think things through before I put words to my thoughts. The latest revelations in the Weinstein scandal and the following #MeToo flooding in social media has been a focal point amidst all the work I put into the biggest event I've ever produced in my life so far.
As brave women all over the world now speak their minds, sharing their stories on many of the horrific experiences they've had in dealing with oppression, sexual harassment, degrading comments and threats of being excluded from work opportunities, career moves and promotions, the ones responsible for these actions now are paying the price for it.
I won't lie. I am both sides of this coin. I am the one who might have offended, and added fuel to the fire in situations where I might have found myself "entitled" to go down that path because of personal insecurities or as a way of trying to save face. But I am also one of many in the music industry that gets groped on stage, on the receiving end of lewd comments, derogatory generalizations about being a stage persona and the embodiment of the ghost that is the "rock 'n roll lifestyle" and all it's "perks".
I was raised by my mother, one of the strongest people I know. A woman who fought for equal rights and to be able to live her dream of becoming a teacher. She taught me how to cook simple meals at the age of 7, making sure that I could handle my own, only to move ahead with her career as an elementary school teacher. She thought me the core values of respect towards anyone who deserved it, second chances, an open mind and the strength of admitting your mistakes. That's why I caved right away when they caught me trying to steal some soccer cards at the toy store at the age of 8. My mom was there and she payed for the cards right away, but the look in her face was more than enough to make it absolutely clear that this was not the way to live life and to earn respect.
All through my life I've met strong and powerful women. Some of them not knowing their potential, because the insecurities they've had to deal with in their childhood has made them doubt their strength and abilities. Some of them have been stronger than me and one even managed to mentally abuse me to the point to where I took a knife and carved all the bad things she called me into my arm. The scars have faded since then, but I can still see vague traces of them whenever I've got my tanning game on point.
The one that has brought me closest to the world of harassment, innuendos, stereotypes and a world full of less than decent representatives of the male gender, is my assistant Felicia. A woman who has endured so much throughout her life, and who bravely stares into the world of social media with the rainbow flag high above her head, and a burning thirst to take on the debate of gender equality and equal rights for individuals, no matter if you´re gay, straight, bi, cis, trans, poly or pansexual. Love will always be love and it's beautiful in every way, and she's one of the many incredible individuals who makes her voice heard, whereas I merely resort to posting rants on a blog. Not that the written word won't have an impact, but actions do speak louder that words in this case.
I know that I've offended people during the years, I know I have made inappropriate comments sometimes to people who I should have treated better, and I know I have a lot to learn in this life.
But the one thing I have learned through the years is that being a real man isn't about keeping a hard line on your own selfish values, belittling or ignoring people who don't see eye to eye, or trying to be someone you're not. It's about sticking around when you fucked up, stand tall and apologize when you should, be polite, hold doors, say "thank you", smile to strangers, never fear changes, keep an open mind and listen to people when they call bullshit.
I'm sorry, that's not what a man is.
That is the essence of a decent human being.
Gender has nothing to do with it.