The Original Silence Breaker: Sinead O’Connor, 1966-2023


Sinead O’Connor, A Voice of Protection and Rebellion

If you are of a certain era, the image of Sinead O’Connor’s face-head shaved against the stark black backdrop, tear rolling down her cheek against that powerful but velvet voice-is burned in your brain. With a number one album and a hit song that no one could seemingly get out of their heads, it seemed as if the world could easily belong to this stunningly unique Irish singer.

But then she did something few pop artists at such a career pinnacle would and have ever dared to do: she used her voice – not to sing, but to take down the establishment of which she disagreed. And not just any establishment. Sinead O’Connor, in 1992, dared to take on the Catholic Church-The Pope himself- on live TV during her Saturday Night Live performance. It was an act of obvious rebellion but one that was deemed as unforgivable defiance in the court of public opinion, one of which Sinead O’Connor’s career never recovered.

Thirty years later, we now know how right she was all along. It’s sobering to think of the ways in which we failed her instead of supporting her courage and dedication to social justice.

She was also an ally to LGBTQ communities, an opponent of police brutality on some of her earliest records, a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights, and marched for abortion rights decades before it was legalized in Ireland.

Over the decades, she openly discussed her struggles with mental health and the lack of availability and accessibility for affordable services.

There isn’t much revealing the cause of her death yet, but recent years have been an ongoing challenge for her, especially after losing her son. Sinead O’Connor was vocal in her struggle to want to be alive any longer. She fought hard, against her own demons and against the demons of the world.

She used her voice to challenge the injustices of the world, no matter the cost to her personal image or career.

Sinead O’Connor matters in every way and we are grateful for what she sacrificed in order to bring an early spotlight to heinous atrocities and sexual abuse of children. Find peace and sanctuary, beautiful soul.


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