Kesha And Janelle Monáe “Mean Business” At The Grammys

Time’s up

Kesha's Grammy Awards performance was always going to be a profound one. After her years-long public legal battle with Dr. Luke, a record producer who once told her she looked like a refrigerator (amongst other insults) and virtually froze her career, Kesha went on to record Rainbow, an album of triumph and redemption in the face of a misogynistic and sexist industry.

The impact of Kesha performing "Praying," the album's first single and most direct callout to Dr. Luke, on a stage as big as the Grammys and before an audience of peers who either rallied behind her or remained peculiarly quiet on the issue of sexual misconduct, is made even more impactful by Janelle Monáe's introduction speech. 

“We say time's up for pay inequality, discrimination, or harassment of any kind, and the abuse of power," Monáe, an artist who once wrote and recorded an album about androids defeating fascism, said before Kesha took stage. “Just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well. So let’s work together, women and men, as a united music industry committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay, and access for all women."

The image of Kesha and those who joined her on stage—Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, and the Resistance Revival Chorus—all wearing white and white roses is a powerful, galvanizing one. May this moment not be reduced down to something as reductive as what James Corden described it as: "a relevant performance." It's so much more than that. See for yourself, below.