Singer Justine Skye's harrowing new music video opens with a disclaimer that it's "based on true events." The video for "Build" is a poignant yet painful look a young woman's relationship with a man who physically and mentally abused her, and ends with a black screen and the italicized words: "United in the fight against domestic violence."
In a Monday interview with The Breakfast Club, Skye explains why she elected to keep her alleged abuser’s identity private, though fans and sleuths have taken a look at her social media activity and speculate that "Build" is about rapper Sheck Wes, who recently appeared on Saturday Night Live.
“It’s not even about protecting him,” she said to the radio hosts.“The people who need to know, know. For me, it’s not about revenge…It’s not even about this person.”
Skye also said that she would speak more about her experience "on [her] own time" and suggested that one of the reasons she isn't naming her abuser is because of the rap community's attitude towards domestic violence.
"In rap culture, people don’t care. It’s about how talented the artist is, and they’ll still be bumping their music, they’ll still be playing [their album]," Skye said. "They’ll be like, ‘That’s fucked up what he did, but his new album is fire.'"
Skye's assertion is hard to deny: Rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot dead in June, allegedly abused his girlfriend, beating and choking her during pregnancy, according to the Miami New Times. These accusations did not stop the late rapper’s rise to the Billboard Top 100 charts and sharing the stage with major acts like A$AP Rocky.
In March rapper Fabolous was arrested on charges of making a terroristic threat in addition to the alleged domestic assault. The charges came after he allegedly punched his girlfriend of 16 years, Emily Bustamante, seven times in the face causing her to lose her two front teeth, according to court documents obtained by NewJersey.com. Yet months later, his single “Ooh Yea” garnered 6.6 million views on Youtube.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Domestic abuse is also related to higher rates of depression and suicidal behavior. But despite the numbers, the conversation around the prevalence of abuse and how abusers are judged in the court of opinion is still a grey area.
Skye went on the share that she intentionally released “Build” in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to make a statement about the pervasiveness of abuse and that abusers must be held accountable for their actions. “As long as we keep turning a blind eye, keep letting these guys think everything is OK and they’ll still be successful, nothing will change,” she said.