What Did You Think of Pink’s AMA Performance?

National Domestic Violence Hotline

What Did You Think of Pink’s AMA Performance?

The musical artist Pink has recieved a lot of attention for her Sunday night performance of the song “Try” at the American Music Awards. Her performance was modeled after the music video for “Try” where she and a male dancer depict an unhealthy relationship.

It is an incredible performance, but it’s not hard to see that Pink and her partner are smashing glass, pulling hair and strangling, pushing and kicking each other. The couple is even surrounded by flames.

Watch it here:

We asked a few of our advocates to chime in with what they thought of Pink’s performance. Does it promote violence or does it encourage awareness of unhealthy relationships? Is it helpful or harmful for those experiencing abuse? Does this help us become more honest about relationships?

Here’s what our advocates had to say. Please let us know what you thought of Pink’s performance in the comments below.

Truthfully, the video make me nervous because we work with people who are hurt, but I also see this as a great opportunity to learn and talk about dating violence and domestic violence. Anything that brings it out into the public sphere is good — we need to bring the reality of domestic violence out of the dark.

I was surprised to see how aggressive the dancing interactions were between Pink and the male dancer. It felt uncomfortable to watch; like it was artful dance at points, but punctuated by aggressive hair pulls and pushing.

I think there are a lot of ways that violence is promoted in media, and for those not involved in the domestic violence field, this performance may not have been that alarming. It may have just been seen as a passionate dance between two people, punctuated by aggression and lyrics that say just “try try try.” But try to what? Make things work? This almost reminded me of that Eminem and Rihanna video where the song had really alarming lyrics. It could spark conversation but I don’t know if in the same way.

I watched the video, and while it was a very skillful performance, I think what it says about relationships is a little sloppy.

If you look just at the dance performance itself, it reminds you of what you need for a relationship to work. You need shared responsibility, trust, support, and communication. In order for Pink’s performance to be so strong, she needed all that from her dance partner. For a relationship to work and flourish, we need those key ingredients as well.

The underlying message of the song “Try” seems to be that you need to keep trying in a relationship, even if it hurts you or your partner. The reality is that relationships should not be painful. When dancers feel pain, they don’t continue to do the same thing, because they recognize that they will become permanently injured. Similarly, if even one thing about your relationship makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you can call our Hotline to talk about it.

We all deserve to feel safe and supported by our partners, whether we’re dancing or just watching Pink dance on TV.

This performance covers many aspects in a relationship. You are able to see how the passion in a bad relationship may be the thing that keeps someone from walking away and giving up. This performance is good in that people who just say, “You should leave him” don’t understand that there are times when it’s not abusive. Often when deciding to leave, the victim is not just looking at the abuse. They might be looking at the person they are losing and what they have been through with them. I think Pink’s performance demonstrates this feeling.

For me, the 2:05 point in the video is the most powerful part. He tries to leave through the door and is confronted by the uncertainty and the danger of being alone in the flames that are outside. Then Pink looks in the mirror and does not like what she sees in herself and her behavior (after picking him up by the hair). She is frustrated and angry about who she has become and is also met by flames. In the end, they both turn back into one another.

This just shows how hard it is for someone to leave an abusive relationship, but also for the person who has hurt someone to change. And in the end, we have to look back at what we are with the person and have to decide what we want to be.

I believe that this is art and is not promoting violence. It allows people to see the range of what goes on in relationships, both for men and women, and as both the aggressor and the victim.

Comment section

13 replies
  1. As a survivor of domestic violence, I was torn with the performance as well. As a survivor who has received counseling and has healed, it still was a little painful to watch at parts and did trigger some emotions of my past. But honestly even when triggered by some of the video, I was able to think , “Wow, I remember that like yesterday, I’m so happy I got out. I’m so happy I’m safe.” It was almost like a good reminder that I’m not there anymore. On the flip side, if I saw that video as a victim still, I do not know if it would have the same effect; I might feel stupid or take the words and lyrics to mean I “should try” to work things out, that it will get better, and even feel like “see, everyone has problems in relationships.”

    As a former advocate at a domestic violence shelter, I know how serious this issue is and I know the need to educate people about this deadly crime so if it opens up conversations about domestic violence, teen dating violence, unhealthy/healthy relationships, then I welcome that and would hope people would take advantage of the materials, advocates, etc out there to get educated.

    If anything this shows that domestic violence is still a huge problem and that we have to keep working to eliminate this deadly crime.

  2. Felisia,

    Thank you for contributing to our blog community and for sharing your experience as both a survivor and an advocate.

  3. Pink may be trying to promote awareness of and open dialog about domestic violence, but I think this video perpetrates what society has been telling us for generations: any passionate relationship is going to cause pain and you must stay with it and work it out. I really do not like the lyrics in the refrain. Where there is fire (passion?) there is a flame, where there’s flame, you’re going to get burned, just because you’re burned doesn’t mean you’re going to die — but sometimes you DO die! As long as domestic homocide is still a leading cause if death among women, this is not a message I want to see.

    In part the video reminded me of an excellent movie in the topic called Once Were Warriors. The couple in the film are incredibly, passionately in love and lust with one another, even after decades of marriage, but the violence is horrifying. The abused wife tries and tries and tries to keepit going, but finally realizes the abuse is hurting her children as much as it’s hurting her and she leaves him, proving herself to be strong and able to there’ve without him, even if her heart has broken. It will heal. Contrast this with the Pink video in which she seems to say that no matter how much it hurts, you must try, try, try.

    There seems to be a trend in the music industry to show powerful, successful women returning repeatedly to abusive situations. It makes me long for a new Madonna.

  4. This made me cry. I’m not a fan of popular music, and I rarely see anything related to music like award shows, but this performance is SO VERY POWERFUL.

    My only hope is that young women do not see the dynamic of this relationshp struggle as romantic nor as an indicator of how they should keep trying to make the relationship work, but that they see it as a warning not to ignore the early-warning signs of a bad relationship and get out long before it gets to this level of violence.

  5. I realized I am not a victim any longer, not that I was helped, because I didn’t tell my secret. But, it is helpful now to know that there are millions out there seeking help now. Pink’ video was explosive, and tastefully choregraphed. If those who are not seeking help see and realize what she was depicting in her art don’t feel strong enough to try to leave that abusive relationship then all they felt was the pain, shame humilitation, low self-esteem. But, for those who felt trapped, and see through it and hopefully find the courage, confidence, and support that is readily out there to help, and seek it like a deer panting for water. I only say thank you “Pink” for acknowledging it still happens in 2012, and someone cares to speak on it.

  6. Petunia,

    Thank you so much for contributing to our blog community and for sharing your inspiring words.

  7. I think it was a very compelling performance and was well sought out. It takes alot to be able to express how our relationships are in our lives and being able to have some type of comfort in knowing that these things happen, and there is help; is a huge relief to most of us. I think that Pinks performance was one of the best ideas when it comes to music and art forms!

  8. I think it is most likely being misinterpreted. I don’t think she was trying to depict literal violence but moreso, turmoil of the heart and the need to work at relationships. Too many people are so apt to just walk away from anything that becomes uncomfortable in their lives or doesn’t live up to their expectations and instead seek the never-ending happiness, which just doesn’t exist all on it’s own without effort. Or they stay in relationships due to a comfort level and a fear of the unknown, but they stay and settle for the unhappiness and don’t do anything on their own to change it. They don’t take chances to put their “heart” back out on the line for their significant other to stomp on, or with a stranger for that matter. They stay, but stay very guarded and most times miserable. I’ve been a P!nk fan her entire career and I’d be almost willing to bet my life she is not advocating that people stay in physically violent relationships where there is a clear danger. And more importantly, I am a survivor of a 10 year relationship in which I was abused almost daily and I never took her song or performances to advocate such.

    She’s very artistic and I totally got her message.

  9. As someone who is finally out of an abusive situation I see Pinks “Try” as “awareness of unhealthy relationships”. It may not be helpful for everyone, but, there isn’t any thing that ever meets 100% approval or disapproval for that matter.
    It also can be viewed as helpful for those experiencing abuse because it encourages them to get up and “TRY” if they decide to leave the unhealthy relationship. And believe it can help us become more honest about relationships.


  10. Faith,

    Thank you so much for contributing to our blog community. I am so glad that this video/song has provided that much needed encouragement we know everyone needs when leaving an abusive relationship. I think you’re right, what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone else because these situations are so complicated. I am so glad that this video continues to spark a dialogue around domestic violence even after its release two years ago.

    Once again, thank you for your insight! Know that you are always welcomed to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800-799-7233 to talk through what has happened.


  11. Most people do not expect never-ending happiness but I’m certain that most people, myself included would say being beaten is extremely uncomfortable Michelle

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