Mariah Carey Gives Powerful Speech About Overcoming Childhood Trauma
The pop music icon was celebrated for her charitable endeavours and contributions to the entertainment industry at the 11th annual Variety Power of Women luncheon on Friday local time.
Carey was fêted at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel alongside fellow honourees Jennifer Aniston, Brie Larson, Awkwafina and Chaka Khan.
The 49-year-old began her acceptance speech emotionally reciting lyrics from her 1997 hit, "Close My Eyes".
"I was a wayward child / With the weight of the world / That I held deep inside / Life was a winding road / And I learned many things / Little ones shouldn't know," she repeated.
She then shared a story about a young fan from Germany, who wrote to Carey shortly after "Close My Eyes" was released and revealed the song helped her get through the trauma of being abused by her step-father.
"Her letter touched me, because I wrote that song from a very real place. I wrote it and many other songs to work through my own trauma. I wrote that song for all the children who saw things they shouldn’t see, who are forced to grow up too soon," Carey said.
“When I was a little girl, I would go on walks alone and come up with melodies and words and sing to myself,” she continued. “Writing songs and singing were my escape. It was my release. It was how I survived, and it still is."
Carey spoke passionately about her charity Camp Mariah, a nonprofit benefiting inner-city youth that she has run for the past 25 years.
“It’s been said it’s hard to be what you can’t see. Camp Mariah is a career awareness camp, giving kids the opportunity to see what they can be. People across all industries and backgrounds share their journeys and stories of success with inner-city kids who come from impoverished backgrounds."
She cited her own experiences as a 10-year-old whose "life was changed" when her parents "scraped enough money together" to send her to a performing arts camp.
"Camp was a reprieve from the unsafe and unpredictable environment that I was living in. It was a solid ground beneath my feet -- fresh air to breathe, blue sky above my head, but most importantly it was an opportunity for me to invest time and training into my dream to be a singer and songwriter, a vision I’ve held since I was 4four years old."
Fellow honouree Jennifer Aniston said in her acceptance speech she never actually thought about herself as powerful but had been reconsidering that and her own platform in the past two years since the rise of #MeToo and the rebalancing of the scales in the entertainment industry.
“It’s funny, I’ve never actually thought of myself as ‘powerful.’ Strong, yes. But powerful, not [really]," the 50-year-old said.
"It’s a distinction I’ve actually been thinking about a lot lately because that word -- ‘power’ and its counterpart, ‘abuse of power’ -- keeps coming up in light of what is happening in our country and in our industry, a rebalancing of the scales, I guess you could say.”
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