Before #MeToo was a viral hashtag, Kesha was fighting against sexual misconduct and assault in the music industry—often without support. She is a true leader in the movement, and during the 60th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, she delivered a stirring performance of "Praying"—nominated for her first-ever Grammy in the "Best Pop Solo Performance" category, along with "Best Pop Vocal Album" for her album, Rainbow—with Camila Cabello and Cidi Lauper, among other women. The song speaks directly to the #MeToo movement, and the emotional, physical, and mental abuse Kesha suffered for over a decade.
So many powerful women on one stage... I'm shaking #GRAMMYs #grammys2018 #kesha pic.twitter.com/R1dNuCdmocJanuary 29, 2018
Kesha, 30, has endured a very public legal battle with music producer Dr. Luke since 2014, when she filed a lawsuit against him—claiming sexual assault and battery, and emotional and psychological abuse since she signed with him at the age of 18. Ahead of the performance, Kesha tweeted about the emotional significance the song has to her, calling it a "step closer to healing."
"When I wrote praying with Ben Abraham and Ryan Lewis, I just felt as if I had gotten a huge weight off of my shoulders. It felt like an emotional raw victory for myself, one step closer to healing. I never could have known what would've happened these past few years."
i just want to say that i needed this song in a very real way, im so proud and nervous and overwhelmed to be performing it at the grammys on sunday, and if you need it i hope this song finds you. 💖💖January 27, 2018
Janelle Monaé gave a powerful introduction to the performance that directly addressed the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp initiative stating:
"Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist, but a young woman, with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry—artists, writers, assistants, publicists, CEOs, producers, engineers, and women from all sectors of the business. We are also daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and human beings. To those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: #TimesUp. We say time's up for pay inequality, discrimination, or harassment of any kind, and the abuse of power."
"It's not just going on in Hollywood, or in Washington, it's right here in our industry, as well. And just as we have the just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well. So, let's work together, women and men, as a united music industry committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay, and access for all women. And as we do, as artists, our next performer embodies the great tradition of delivering important social messages through their music. This fearless two-time grammy nominee inspired so many of us when she spoke her truth on her album, 'Rainbow,' which was nominated for best pop vocal album tonight. Here to sing "Praying"— joined by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels, and the resistance revival chorus—we are honored to welcome Kesha."
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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