The After School Specials (ASS), a 5C a cappella group, recently won the national “Til It Happens to You: Sing for Survivors” Contest, a project launched by the award-winning documentary The Hunting Ground in collaboration with the It’s On Us campaign and ROK Mobile. The premise of the contest was to submit an original rendition of the Oscar-nominated Lady Gaga/Diane Warren song “Til It Happens to You,” with the intent to put a stop to sexual assault on college campuses and in the world.
ASS made sure that this message was prominent, both in the interpretation of the song and the composition of the music video. Each member of the group has a solo, something that, according to Alex Hwung CM ’16, “was very deliberate.” He notes that that decision was another way to show how the issue of sexual assault “affects a lot more people than people think that it does.” The music video helps to further underscore that sentiment. At the start, each shot is taken at night, but as the video goes on it gets progressively lighter until it becomes brightest at the climax. This was shown in order to communicate to people affected by sexual assault that it can get better; in other words, it is the light after the dark. The video concludes with a group shot to emphasize solidarity and support for victims of sexual assault. The group’s music director, Niko Tutland PO ’17, is the mastermind behind the poignant rendition, and Albert Chang filmed the music video.
Their consideration and hard work paid off. The After School Specials will be performing at the White House next Thursday.
Looking towards the future, ASS is going to continue singing “Til It Happens to You” on campus. In the wake of the contest, peer advocates have reached out to the group about helping to spread awareness for campus sexual assault. According to the leadership of ASS, the group is more than willing to collaborate on issues like this in the future because “song is such a good medium for spreading these kinds of messages.”
As for what this experience has meant Hwung, “it’s been amazing,” he said. “I don’t know how else to say it.”
If you haven’t seen the video, check it out here: http://www.thehuntinggroundfilm.com/we-have-a-winner/
For more information about sexual assault awareness, see: http://www.thehuntinggroundfilm.com/