January 29, 2018


Kesha's All-Female 'Praying' Performance Was the #TimesUp Moment the GRAMMYs Needed

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The end of 2017 shook Hollywood with accusations about some of its most powerful male executives, directors, actors and anchors, with many changes taking place including the #TimesUp movement that was extremely visible at the 2018 Golden Globes with speeches from powerful women and nearly everyone wearing black in solidarity. Despite some highly public claims, the music industry has not seen the same changes come about with the 2018 GRAMMY Awards also being a slightly softer tackling of the issues with many—but hardly all—stars wearing white roses to show their solidarity and very few stars speaking out about current issues of sexual harassment and intimidation. All of this made Kesha's moving performance of "Praying" all the more moving and important on music's biggest night.

Kesha performed her comeback track "Praying" (which was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance but lost to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You") in an all-white ensemble alongside a diverse, all-female supporting cast of  Cyndi Lauper Camila CabelloBebe Rexha, Julia Michaels and Andra Day. Together the ladies personified the white-rose movement at the award show and proved the importance of women supporting women. Kesha was on the verge of tears throughout her performance with Lauper at one point putting her hand on Kesha's shoulder as she delivered some of the song's most powerful lines.

While there was no clear reason for including the women featured onstage (did they all have their own #MeToo story?), the importance of Kesha singing a song of forgiveness about her alleged abuser (who doubles as a multiple GRAMMY winner) onstage at the ceremony is an encouraging and positive message of never giving up. Even better when you can do it with those who support and believe you by your side.

Even with a GRAMMY nomination and No. 1 album with 2017's Rainbow, Kesha is still dealing with a tough, traumatic experience from her time in the music industry. The moving rendition of the song kickstarted her return to music has a larger message from which so many victims can be inspired and remind so many industry people that there is still a lot of work to be done in the music business so it's a safe and inclusive workspace for all.