VIDEO PREMIERE: Empress Asha opens up about the reality of sexual abuse and destructive relationships with her new single, “No Means No”

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Credit: Jeremy Tredenick

Direct and expressive, “No Means No” confronts sexual abuse while empowering women to find their voice and speak out about their circumstance.

DISCLAIMER: This article discusses the sensitive and traumatic topic of sexual assault and abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please find helpful resources at the bottom of this article.

Sometimes the things we think to keep to ourselves serve as a worthwhile message we need to hear. Such is the case with Empress Asha’s new single, “No Means No”, released today.

Feeling trapped in an abusive relationship is a tragic reality many women face. So to is the difficulty in finding ways to speak about it, more so to find a way out. Not holding back, Empress Asha opens up with her new single, “No Means No”. It is both a letter of reconciliation to herself and a message to those facing similar circumstances.

“The song wasn’t initially meant to be put out to the public,” admits Asha. “I started writing as a means to cope with the immense amount of pain I was feeling because of what I was going through.”

“No Means No” speaks openly about Empress Asha’s recent experience in an abusive relationship, as well as conceiving a child through sexual assault. The three-minute-six-second single encompasses her pain, translated effectively in a hip hop-esque track. While more pressing in tone than her previous works, “No Means No” is a compelling example of manifesting deeply personal experiences into an expressive, unyielding artistic display. The potent crafting of each lyric conveys the ownership of her struggle, as well as the relinquishment of her personal power.

“I was dating a man that raped me and I became pregnant from the assault. It was a confusing journey and I’m grateful to have been able to explore and heal from it as an artist should… through their craft.”
– Empress Asha

Credit: Jeremy Tredenick / JReel Visuals

The traumatic nature of these circumstances are an immeasurable weight on those who experience them. The outward message of “No Means No” is to empower women to find their voice and overcome their situation. Just as well, it encourages the discussion of accountability in a world where, all too often, this type of dreadful behaviour goes unopposed or unpunished.

“I think a lot of times victims of abuse and sexual violence feel too ashamed or confused to speak up or out about what happened,” explains Asha. “For me, personally and for some others, I think it’s important to speak out against violence and abuse because it is still swept under the rug.”

There are two messages Empress Asha wants her listeners to take away with “No Means No”. The first being, regardless your relationship with someone, if you say “no” and they continue, they have committed assault. This, she says, needs to be made more clear to victims. The second message is that you can overcome any situation if you put your mind to it.

Video filmed and edited by Jeremy Tredenick at JReel Visuals.



If you, or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please contact:

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Housing
Sexual Violence –

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