Linda Perry Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis in ‘Let It Die Here,’ Which Everyone Should See

I have yet to see a more affecting image during the Tribeca Film Festival than Perry dancing in her closet to Supertramp’s "Take the Long Way Home" only to dissolve into sobs.

Linda Perry Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis in ‘Let It Die Here,’ Which Everyone Should See

This week, a myriad of films are making their debut at the Tribeca Film Festival. Among them is Don Hardy’s Let It Die Here, a candid chronicle of the life and legacy of 4 Non Blondes frontwoman, producer, and longtime collaborator and advocate of singer-songwriters, Linda Perry.

The documentary profiles Perry, a 59-year-old strident—occasionally self-sabotaging—perfectionist and workaholic, reckoning with the fact that the lion’s share of her self-esteem depends significantly on her output. The audience witnesses her rise from a young—unfortunately, dread-headed—lead singer with a solitary smash hit (“What’s Up”) to the Grammy-nominated songwriting and producing phenom behind chart-toppers like Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and P!nk’s “Get The Party Started.” We learn though, that the bulk of Perry’s successes are part of a cycle of “self-abuse” and have been achieved largely in spite of what she suffered in her adolescence: in short, depression due largely to her parents’ physical and emotional abuse.

“I don’t even know what I’m hustling to get,” an exasperated Perry tells the camera. Approaching 60, she’s made the realization that validating herself solely on her career is unsustainable. And sadly, she doesn’t know how to stop given it’s been her preferred way of coping with the generational trauma that’s plagued her for years. Ultimately, Perry is prompted to take stock and in the midst of production, she’s diagnosed with breast cancer after undergoing an elective reduction.

“The hammer was on me, and this happened in real time,” Perry told People of making the discovery while filming Let It Die Here. “I remember calling Don and going, ‘You’re not going to believe this. And he’s like, ‘Well, do you want to talk about it?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, we’re in it. Let’s just do it.’” In 2021, she underwent a double mastectomy and her recovery is documented, in part, in the film.

“I feel so lucky because there’s so many women that don’t get that opportunity,” she added.

Let It Die Here also sees Perry finding forgiveness and forging peace with her mother in the months leading up to her death.

“My doctor basically said the cancer that I had was the kind that she finds in people where they have six months to maybe two years to live,” Perry told People. “And I would’ve never found it, and I would’ve never done anything about it when I started feeling off, because I would’ve thought it was because of my mom and the stressful situation I was under.”

It’s Perry’s honesty and—at times, staggering—vulnerability that sets Let It Die Here apart from other music documentaries. Frankly, I have yet to see a more affecting image during the festival than Perry dancing to Supertramp’s “Take the Long Way Home” in her closet only to dissolve into sobs upon realizing she can’t remember the last time she danced without care.

Whether or not you understand who Perry is, there are innumerable lessons to be learned in Let It Die Here. For instance, it’s never too late to forgive those who’ve hurt you—yourself, included. In doing so, Perry’s not only able to say goodbye to her mother without harboring any lingering resentment or rage but she’s empowered to create an album for herself that she actually feels proud of. By the end, I was weeping right alongside her.

“I am really finally enjoying this person I’m becoming,” Perry told People of the film. “I’ve always had this thing where I just want to be the best. So much fucking pressure to be the best. But now I’m like, I just want to be the best at who I am. And that takes a lot of pressure off. I don’t want to be fucking Superman. I don’t want to save the world. I just want to save the people I can, and I want to be the best person that I am.”

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