In a surprise release just after Labor Day weekend, Sia has come out with a new single titled “The Greatest” which pays homage to the victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando. It was the worst mass shooting event is US history, wherein 49 people were killed and 53 injured inside an LGBTQ nightclub in June.
The video opens on the hashtag #WEAREYOURCHILDREN and focuses in on Sia’s frequent collaborator and famous dancer, 13-year-old Maddie Ziegler, who acts as the face of Sia throughout all of her most successful videos. Ziegler is standing and crying amid a group of 49 still bodies in what appears to be a locked cell. As the music begins the bodies rise, and a group of young dancers take flight from the room with the help of Ziegler. The lyrics “Don’t give up, I won’t give up. I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive” haunt the background while the young dancers run through the halls, desperately trying to escape their prison. By the end, all the bodies fall still.
The video is slap-in-the-face, brutally shocking reminder of the events of last June and how necessary it is that we never forget it, and never allow something so horrific to take place again. It’s worth noting that, much like the young victims who were mostly in their early twenties, all the dancers in this video are children. The children sliding down the walls as Ziegler’s horrified face plays for the audience can only be described as devastating.
WARNING: This video displays some disturbing imagery that may be triggering to those who have lived through this massacre.