On November 28th, The Recording Academy released the nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards. While there were many surprises and snubs, one nominee I think we should highlight is Kesha for her two nominations: Best Pop Solo Performance for her song, “Praying” and Best Pop Vocal Album for “Rainbow.”
We all know Kesha. The wild pop star that used to have a dollar sign in her name, that told the world that she woke up feeling like P. Diddy. But many might not know about the rough couple of years she has had. Back in 2014, Kesha sued her former producer, Dr. Luke for allegedly sexually and verbally harassing her; wanting to break her contract and cut all ties with him and Sony Music, to which Dr. Luke countersued. In February 2016, a New York judge denied Kesha a court injunction that would have allowed her to record new music, apart from with Sony Music, as well as Dr. Luke. People were devastated, leading to protests as well as support from other artists like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Kesha was stuck working with her alleged abuser.
Fast forward to July 2017 when Kesha released her single “Praying”, which was produced by Kemosabe Records, owned by Dr. Luke. The song, however, was produced by Ryan Lewis, of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis fame, and co-written by both Kesha and Lewis. Kesha revealed that “Praying” is “about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal.” This left both fans and news outlets to speculate the song was about Dr. Luke, being a tormenter in her life, even though neither Kesha nor the song explicitly said so. Later her album “Rainbow” was released in August, which received critical acclaim from critics and audiences who praised her feminist angle and unique approaches, while “Praying” went multi-Platinum.
This brings us back to today, amidst of the news of Kesha’s first Grammy nominations. The nominations not only show that she is a talented artist, but it is also a sign of strength, perseverance, and redemption. We live in a post-Weinstein society where it seems like new scandals are uncovered every day. Fortunately, however, people are being called out for their allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, shedding light on this ongoing problem in Hollywood and being properly reprimanded both by society and the media. Kesha’s Grammy nominations are a sign that even though she didn’t win the trial, she won in her own right. Allegedly, Dr. Luke has made statements that denied Kesha’s talents and self-worth. These nominations have only proven that she was able to achieve more on her own than she has ever had with Dr. Luke. Even though the “Praying” came prior to the all these Hollywood sexual assault scandals, the song has become this beacon of hope for those who have dealt with abuse and harassment and has demonstrated both resilience and power, especially for those who have felt powerless. Whether Kesha wins the Grammy, or not, this is both a momentous occasion for not only herself, but for victims of abuse everywhere. Good luck in January, Kesha. You’ve got this.