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Why Kesha’s Vulnerable Grammy Performance Matters

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards was held on January 28th, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The night was full of memorable, powerful moments, one of the most impactful being Kesha’s performance of “Praying”.

“Praying” was written while Kesha was in the midst of a legal battle with her former producer (and longtime emotional, physical, and sexual abuser) Dr. Luke.  The song is about her rising above her trauma and learning how to fight for herself. Kesha has also been very open about her battle with an eating disorder. A major cause for eating disorders is trauma, and eating disorders often serve as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain of trauma.

This song and performance serve as an expression of fierce strength — it was a raw, powerful showing of Kesha reclaiming her life from her eating disorder and her abuser. She demonstrated that she is setting herself free and that she refuses to be silenced.

By publicly expressing how she is taking back power, she is simultaneously showing others that they can it, too. For the millions of people worldwide who have experienced trauma and eating disorders, this is an example of the beauty that can be found in recovery.

With the huge amount of stigma surrounding mental health, people struggling with mental illness often feel pressure to remain silent and not share their struggles. However, in this performance (and in her life in general), Kesha is showing that there is healing in vulnerability and in being open about our struggles. She’s showing others that is okay for them to be open, too.

By getting up and leaving her heart on the stage, surrounded by an army of fierce supporters like Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, and Bebe Rexha, Kesha showed the world that there is life after trauma, that being vulnerable is a sign of strength, and that by creating a sense of community, we are helping not only others heal, but ourselves, too.

In today’s #MeToo climate, Kesha’s performance shows that as a society we need to hold people accountable, refuse to back down, and make our voices heard. Thank you, Kesha, for your bravery and incredible strength.

 

Colleen Werner is a junior psychology major at SUNY Old Westbury, and she plans on going to graduate school to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in Eating Disorders. She also aspires to start an eating disorder treatment created specifically for dancers. Her Instagram account/blog, @leenahlovesherself, which centers around body-positivity, self-love, eating disorder awareness, and mental health has deeply inspired thousands, and after creating the hashtag #BopoBallerina, Colleen was featured by Yahoo, National Eating Disorders Association, Dailymotion, A Plus, Dance.com, and several international news outlets. In addition to her work on her Instagram, Colleen is a member of the Advisory Panel for YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance), a National Ambassador for Project HEAL, and a Brand Ambassador for Wear Your Label.
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