Kesha brought the #MeToo movement to the Grammy Awards on Sunday, performing a powerful rendition of her hit song “Praying” alongside singers Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Bebe Rexha, Andra Day, and Julia Michaels.
The lead single off the triumphant 2017 record Rainbow, “Praying” sees Kesha reflecting on her emotional, years-long legal battle against her former producer, Dr. Luke, who she’s accused of sexual and verbal assault. (Dr. Luke has denied the claims in court and on social media.)
“I’m proud of who I am/No more monsters/I can breathe again,” she sang through tears. “And you said that I was done/Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come.”
After the performance, Kesha thanked the Recording Academy and her fellow performers. “Thank you to the @RecordingAcad, the women on stage with me tonight, and everyone who has supported me through this whole journey,” she tweeted.
Singer Janelle Monae introduced the performance with a call-to-action for female equality in the music industry. “We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try to silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s Up,” she said, citing the popular movement. “We say time’s up for pay inequality, time’s up for discrimination, time’s up for harassment of any kind, time’s up for abuse of power. We also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well. It’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington, it’s going on in our industry.”
Kesha is nominated for two Grammys this year — Best Pop Solo (“Praying”) and Best Pop Vocal Album (Rainbow). “It’s been a dream of mine [to be nominated for] as long as I can remember,” she told EW in December. “In the ’80s, my mother made an album, and my grandmother always said she wanted to go with her to the Grammys. So now that I’m going, I’m going to be taking my mom, and my grandmother will be there in spirit. That’s just so meaningful to me.”