Sinead O’Connor, A Fearless Artist Way Ahead Of Her Time

Sinead O Connor, also known as Shuhada Sadaqat, is an Irish singer-songwriter whose 1990 single “Nothing Compares 2 U” was called the number one world single by the Billboard Music Awards.

Shortly, in October 1992, Conner’s performance of Bob Marley’s War in Saturday Night Live appearance stirred up controversies at the time that was effectual enough to overturn her career. Her song choice points out her preparedness to make use of the platform to draw attention to the oppressive acts that go on in society. To fuel it up, the Irish singer even tore a picture of Pope John Paul II. She ended her performance by saying “Fight the real enemy.”

Her act of doing so was speaking up against the brutal truth of child abuse in the Catholic church. 

The artist has been an advocate of truth regarding these matters ever since and is vocal about her experiences of abuse. Taking into account how fragile an influencer’s image can be, Connor fearlessly spoke on the matters that people would generally hesitate upon, especially during that time. Connor, being a popular singer, understood at that time how her voice would reach out to people, and used it to shed light upon the issues of child abuse.

Memoir, Childhood Trauma And Relation With God

Speaking on what the singer has been occupied with, she recently published a memoir called Rememberings on 1 June 2021, which is a magnum of her works and her past including all the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her mother. Unmistakably, the picture that she tore originally belonged to her mother, which clearly shows the singer’s antagonism towards her.

The childhood trauma she went through affected her mental health, and despite that, she has been true to what she says and speaking up against such acts. 

I feel the only reason God gave me my career at all was to write this book. Because certain stories within it needed to get told, particularly, the experience of childhood in the Republic of Ireland in the 70s.

Regarding her plans, the author revealed, “I would really like in a way the book to be my retirement gig“.

Amidst all the sufferings and abuse she faced from her mother, Connor also found solace in god.

I love Jesus because he appeared to me one night when my mother had me on the kitchen floor. I was naked and had cereal and powdered coffee poured all over me. My mother was saying all this scary stuff, and I was curled up so she could kick me on the bottom. Suddenly, there Jesus was in my mind, on a little stony hill, on His cross.

The physical and emotional abuse that she suffered from her mother was also reaffirmed by her brother Joseph, who on that matter said, “She was a deeply unhappy and disturbed woman who subjected her children to ″extreme and violent abuse, both emotional and physical″ 

Perceptively, Connor thinks it was not her act of tearing the picture of the Pope that made her career take a back turn, but rather her being made out into a pop star after a hit single.

Life After The SNL Controversy Wasn’t Easy For Sinead

After her appearance in SNL, the singer was asked to apologize and has received several criticisms. She was even booed off the stage at a Bob Dylan tribute concert when she hadn’t finished the song yet. And let’s not forget how Frank Sinatra called her ‘one stupid broad’.

An actual headline after Sinead’s SNL controversy ( Source: YouTube )

The singer got married to therapist Barry Herridge on 8 December in a chapel in Las Vegas, which shortly broke off, as Connor thought that Herridge had a lot to lose from the relationship. This was the singer’s fourth marriage. 

It became apparent to me that if he were to stay with me he would be losing too much to bear.

For the time being, Connor is single and occupied with events surrounding her book release through which she is uncovering her story, sufferings, and the willingness to point out distressing crimes that many people are unaware of. There have been many cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children which need to be addressed.

To name a few, an inquiry found that some 216,000 children in France had been sexually abused by members of the clergy since 1950. 

Also, a Church-commissioned report in 2004 revealed that more than 4000 Roman Catholic priests had faced allegations of sexual abuse of more than 10,000 children, mostly boys, in the last 50 years.

The fact that Sinead O’Connor was speaking on these matters way before there was adequate awareness about the sexual exploits that the children face in the churches proves that the Irish singer was way ahead of her time. Considering how pointing out these things during those days bore a high risk of being hated and not being well-received in society.

And judging by the comments on the YouTube clip of the famous SNL clip that bought everything down, it’s evident that people have a lot of respect for Sinead now who risked it all for what she believed in. She is a living testament to the fact that truth always wins, no matter how long it takes.

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Sandesh K.C
A musician in the making specializing in songwriting and musical composition. Recent Engineering graduate and music writer trying best to keep the spark for my passion alive.
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