"You Said That I Was Done:" Kesha's Grammy Performance Opens Up Harvey Weinstein-Like Truths About The Music Industry
Kesha's performance at the 2018 Grammy Awards was dubbed by many as "the one to watch."
Not only did the pop superstar surpass all expectations, but she also succeeded in driving home one of today's most relevant issues: women are still being treated unjustly in the workplace, and for female artists in the music industry, they're going to need all the support they can get.
The 30-year-old songstress lit up the night with a rousing performance of her hit song, "Praying." The song nominated for Best Pop Song of the Year was the first single to be released from her critically-acclaimed album "Rainbow." At the Grammys, Kesha made the song all the more powerful as an all-female chorus including, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Julia Michaels, and Bebe Rexha joined her onstage to send her message.
More than being a relatable tune, "Praying" is a lyrical condemnation of her producer, Dr. Luke, the man behind her highly publicized experiences of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Just as Hollywood has (had) a Harvey Weinstein who produced a slew of blockbusters, the music industry employs Dr. Luke, a producer who made hits by the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and Jessie J possible.
Like Harvey, he is a man of influence and power. But unlike his Hollywood counterpart, he has not been tried for a single case, has not been investigated by the music industry, and is still making a killing.
"You said that I was done, well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come 'cause I can make it on my own," sang Kesha as she visibly held back tears.
The award-winning singer-songwriter first came forward with cases filed against Dr. Luke in 2014. She recounted instances dating back to when she was an 18-year-old girl forced by him to take drugs, and according to vox.com, she "also described one instance in which she was unknowingly given date rape drugs, then woke up naked and sore in Dr. Luke’s bed, with no recollection of what had happened."
Four years after, no legal action has been taken to move Kesha's lawsuits forward. In fact, the court denied one of Kesha's requests to be freed from her contract that requires her to produce her music for five albums with Dr. Luke. She has two more to go. Yes, even after letting the world know of what she had gone through with Dr. Luke, the law and the music industry still tether her to her abuser. Dr. Luke has denied all accusations.
"I hope your soul is changing, changing, I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees, praying," sang Kesha with gut-wrenching honesty.
More so, Kesha's performance brings to the forefront the screaming silence of the The Recording Academy amidst this issue and many others like it. Where Hollywood has been proactive about and committed to correcting its wrongs, the academy—whose members organize and vote on the Grammys—has been deathly vague and tight-lipped about how to, well, fix things.
Before, during, and after Kesha's performance, the academy did not offer statements about her underlying message. As a whole, the 2018 Grammys was relatively uninvolved in joining the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, save for attendees incorporating a white rose in their outfits to show their support—a blatant irony in light of Kesha's message.
"But after everything you've done, I can thank you for how strong I have become," belted out Kesha, who was rewarded by a standing ovation and embraced by accompanying female artists on stage at the end of her number. Kesha did not bring home awards at the Grammys.
After a five-year recording and touring absence, Kesha is scheduled to go on tour with Macklemore in June of this year.