Singer, actress, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Demi Lovato, puts her quarantine time and platform to fair use. Aware of her privileges, the pop superstar is committed to being an ally of the Black and Brown community and has dedicated the necessary resources to raise awareness about mental health and social issues like racial discrimination, economic deprivation, and stress.
Like Lovato, in 2019, when we were getting ready to farewell the decade and receive the new year, we had no clue of the challenging months ahead. From a deadly and unforgiving pandemic to an increase in police brutality cases, as well as racial profiling and injustices, what was once considered “the year of the vision” and the perfect time to turn our wildest dreams into realities transformed to one of the most difficult times in modern history. ”When we first went into lockdown, I had just performed at the Super Bowl and the Grammys, released a new single and had another single coming out a month later with Sam Smith,” Demi Lovato wrote in a personal letter recently published on Vogue. ”I felt secure in my career and had been prepared mentally to crush it. When everything came to a halt, I — like I’m sure many others reading this — felt adrift.”
The pandemic created a state of confusion, fear, and unpredictability as the number of cases of COVID-19 increases; anxiety disorders, including panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder, take a toll on mental health. The 28-year-old singer, who has dealt with the previously mentioned, revealed how the disease left her with more questions than answers. “Depression and mental illness are part of my history, and because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, my anxiety skyrocketed,” she wrote. ”I was suddenly confronted with all these questions: ‘When are we going to go back to work?’ ’Are more people going to have to die?’ ’How bad is this going to get?’ Everything was so suddenly out of my control and not just for me individually, but for us as a global community. It was — and remains — a truly unprecedented time in history.”
Along with the health crisis, another crisis arose to add more distress to this critical period. America wasn‘t only dealing with a highly infectious disease; the Nation started to witness more civil rights violations, prejudice, and discrimination. Instead of succumbing to depression, the “Skyscraper” singer realized this was the right time to react and use her voice to, within her possibilities, advocate for Black lives. ”There has never been a more crucial time to spread awareness about issues that matter. And it’s not just mental health. Having so much downtime during quarantine has given me the space to realize there’s so much more I could be doing to help other people,” she penned. ”I’m in the ‘at risk’ category for Covid-19 because of my asthma and other health issues, so I wasn’t able to attend any of the Black Lives Matter protests. But there were things I was able to do from home, just from using my platform.”
Reflecting on how Black culture “shaped” her into the vocalist she is today, Lovato acknowledged that ”everything that I have — money, success, a roof over my head — it’s because of the inspiration those Black women gave me,” she said referring to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and, other soulful singers. ”I continue to be constantly inspired by people of color today,” she added.
“So here I am, sitting in a home that I was able to afford with the money that I have from singing, while people of color are fearing for their lives every day. I realized this was a lightning bolt jolting through my body, where I was reminded of my privilege. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to help spread awareness about this injustice, so I began posting things that I thought would educate people,” the singer wrote.
Lovato also revealed how hesitant she was to write about Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many violence and racism victims. However, once again, she decided to educate herself and become a better ally. “You need to be willing to protect people at all costs,” she said. ”You have to step in if you see something happening that’s not right: a racist act, a racist comment, a racist joke. And it’s not just with Black Lives Matter. It’s also with the Me Too movement. Finally, the world is waking up, and it’s beautiful to witness.”
With a new perspective, Lovato also decided to tackle her issues and explore different options for living her life. “Nobody’s had a perfect 2020. Far from it. What we all need to realize, though, is that it’s OK for things not to be OK sometimes,” she wrote. ”I’ve also lost several people this year, which was tough. There was the anniversary of my father’s death, which is a couple of days after Father’s Day — a really hard time of year for me. But this year, something happened. I wrote a gratitude letter to him, thanking him for all the things that I got from him. It was this beautiful release of all the resentments I had towards him.”
The singer finished her profound letter revealing what the world can expect from her from now on. “Moving forward, I want to put my energy into my music and my advocacy work. I want to continue to strive to be a better person. I want to inspire people in many different ways to do the same. Above all, I want to leave the world a better place than when I got here. There are a lot of things that need to be done before that, but together I believe we can make it happen. You just need to be a little bit hopeful,” she concluded.