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selena gomez wore a hospital bracelet in 'bad liar' for a very powerful reason

It turns out it wasn't about suicide.

by André-Naquian Wheeler
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Jun 9 2017, 4:35pm

BAD LIAR @selenagomez

A post shared by Petra Collins (@petrafcollins) on

When Selena Gomez's kaleidoscopic, punchy video for "Bad Liar" (directed by Petra Collins) came out, viewers noticed something: the hospital bracelet Gomez was wearing as an accessory. There Gomez was lounging around a dreamy, intimate bedroom — sporting a patch of medical gauze and a caution-yellow "fall risk" bracelet. Paired with Collins's signature pastel color scheme, it made for an authentic-feeling moment of fragility. Here was a pop star showing the world they were walking a fine line between "okay" and "not okay" just like the rest of us.

The exact meaning behind the hospital bracelet was intensely debated by fans. One popular theory was that the bracelet was a reference to a suicide attempt. This quickly earned Gomez criticism, particularly since she had recently executive-produced 13 Reasons Why, a show that starkly illustrates the trauma of suicide.

Collins recently took to Instagram to explain the true significance of the bracelet, responding to a fan's inquiry. She revealed that Gomez actually came to the shoot with the bracelet already on. Gomez had been in the hospital for lupus-related reasons and had jetted to the set shortly after being released.

"She thought it was beautiful," Selena told MTV in a recent interview. "She said can we shoot this? I said sure, let's do it."

Gomez added that the bracelet was a perfect representation of how she'd been feeling that day. "It was just exactly where I was emotionally," she said.

Gomez has been staunchly honest about her lupus and the toll it has taken on her body and life. During an interview with People, she explained that the disease has had physical and mental effects. "I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of lupus," she said, "which can present their own challenges."

Other pop stars have raised awareness around lupus. In 2010, Lady Gaga revealed she was "borderline positive" for the disease, which runs in her family. Toni Braxton announced her own diagnosis during a lupus awareness event. "Pretty much when you have lupus you feel like you have the flu every day," Braxton revealed in an interview. Which explains why Gomez made the bracelet a focal point of her video: because the disease is a focal point of her life. 

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Text André-Naquian Wheeler