Raye strips off on stage in front of fans to share ‘her only body’
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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images / Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Tyla
Warning: this article discusses eating disorders, SA and addiction.
Last night, award-winning artist Raye stripped down and performed in her underwear during her performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
Now, you’re probably thinking what’s the big deal? But we aren’t talking donning designer bikinis or barely-there clothing like the other artists, we are talking regular underwear, bra and knickers, just like you and I wear everyday.
Why you ask? Well…
She spoke about how ‘self-love is a journey’ and how ‘some days you feel it and other days you look in the mirror and just think, urgh is that me?’
Raye has been very vocal about her battle with eating disorders, addiction and sexual abuse and in an interview with Capital FM in answer to the question ‘what do you see when you look in the mirror’, Raye said: “I don’t know. It’s a very 50/50 experience. Maybe a lot of people can relate. Sometimes you’ll look in the mirror and be like ‘that’s nice’ or ‘that’s good’, and then sometimes it will feel like the opposite. But that’s OK, it’s just part of life and I think it’s something I’m very much working through.
“I don’t think it’s good to spend too much time in the mirror, or you’ll just start pointing out all the flaws.
“I just use music as my therapy to try and process stuff,” and that’s exactly what she did on stage.
The lyrics go: I let my fingers pinch my skin / I'm so hungry, I can't sleep / But I know if I eat / Then I'll be in the bathroom on my knees.
The song continues: And I don't really like my body / But knowing it's my only body /I should pro'ly call somebody / I should really show you how I'm feeling inside / Matter fact, I'm glad you called me / I've been hiding, I been high / And I've been sleeping hungry.
To really drive home the meaning of the song and show support to those who might still be suffering, in a bold move, Raye stripped down and shared with the crowd ‘my only body’.
Raye was performing the live orchestral version of her critically-acclaimed debut album My 21st Century Blues in Kensington, London to a sold-out show.
For those of you who don’t know Raye - or have yet to be exposed to her brilliance - Raye was born and bred in south London and has collaborated with the likes of Mabel, Stormzy and even wrote ‘Bigger’ for Beyonce on her Lion King inspired album, The Gift.
Her breakout hit Escapism, which made it to the Billboard Hot 100, completely dominated TikTok this year, with the song being used millions of times by fans.
My 21st Century Blues gained a lot of traction for its brutally honest and raw retelling of personal experiences with sexual assault, addiction to drugs and alcohol and eating disorders.
Eating disorder charity Beat Eating Disorders say: “We estimate that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. While there have been some significant and well-designed studies conducted in the UK in recent years, overall there has not been sufficient research to draw firm conclusions about the prevalence of eating disorders in the UK.”
They continue: “In every case, eating disorders severely affect the quality of life of the sufferer and those that care for them.”
Raye herself admitted that she found her experience with eating disorders ‘hard to talk about’, but ‘wanted to be honest in this music, and just talk about stuff’ as a way to heal from the trauma.
Raye’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall received nothing but support. In a time where social media has lots of young people questioning their self-worth and adding to their feelings of inadequacy, Raye’s move on stage - baring all as she is – is an incredibly brave and encouraging thing to do, setting a new standard and reminding people it is absolutely OK to be you.
My 21st Century Blues is available to stream now, and tickets for Raye’s tour can be found here.
If you've been affected by any of the issues in this article and would like to speak with someone in confidence, call the BEAT Eating Disorders helpline on 0808 801 0677. Helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–8pm during the week, and 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays. Alternatively, you can try the one-to-one webchat
If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phone