Last month, Shawn Mendes' new single "Treat You Better" was released and was originally thought to be just another song about jealousy. It wasn't until the music video was released that fans realized the song actually represents something much deeper. In the music video, Mendes pines over a girl who's in the middle of an abusive relationship with another guy. Throughout the clip, we see her boyfriend throw her around and risk her life in a car chase yet, even after they fight and he strikes her, she chooses to stay with him. Mendes, who hopes that the girl will leave her current boyfriend for him, is left to sulk around in comfy chairs and pound different walls out of frustration.
While the premise of the video may not sound like much and can even be misread as humorous, the video itself is actually much more emotional and powerfully dramatic as the true message behind the song appears to be a tribute to the effects that domestic violence has on individuals and their relationships. The video even ends by displaying the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, inherently encouraging anyone who's in an abusive relationship (or knows someone who is) to seek help.
In the wake of all this celebrity gossip about how celebrities are using their voice for the "real issues," Shawn Mendes is proving to go above and beyond the terms of what a celebrity should aspire to be and do. He's not using his voice to talk about body shaping corsets like Kim Kardashian or to throw major shade and start petty arguments with other celebrities. He's not even using his own voice to promote his own products or sponsors like so many other musical talents do in their videos. No, Mendes would rather use his influential power to shed light on the important issue of domestic violence.
Not only is it so vitally important for celebrities to use their voice for something good and empowering, but it is especially important for young celebrities to use their voice to highlight these important issues because of the type of audiences they attract.
It is common knowledge that young singers attract young listeners and the average age demographic for Shawn Mendes' viewers seems to be predominantly women in the age range from 14-22. It is during this age group that women often begin dating and experiencing their first romantic relationship. It is also during this age group that women can sometimes enter abusive relationships and decide to stay in them because they don't know any better. That is why Mendes's video is so important to his viewers. It highlights the seriousness of domestic violence and how it could happen to anybody (and I don't mean just women, but also men).
What this video could do for young individuals everywhere is jolt them awake and make them realize that the relationship between the man and the woman in this music video is a lot like their own personal relationship or even a friend's relationship. Having the domestic violence banner dramatically pop up at the end of the video makes people realize that this a serious issue that can potentially be avoided if you seek help.
Mendes is making a strong movement form in the music industry and I applaud him in doing so. I also encourage other celebrities to step up there game and join the ranks of Mendes, and so many others, to forget about pushing products in their music videos and instead think about how they can use their voice to shape a better world.