It took about two hours into Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony before anyone really dug into honoring the survivors and activists of the #MeToo movement and the Times Up initiative, but it sure was powerful when it happened. Actress and recording artist Janelle Monáe delivered a fiery speech calling out harassment and pay inequity across industries.
“Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist, but a young woman, with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry,” Monáe said. “And to those who would dare try to silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up. We say time’s up for pay inequality, time’s up for discrimination, time’s up for harassment of any kind, and time’s up for the abuse of power. Because you see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington, it’s right here in our industry as well. And just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo a culture that does not serve us well.”
But in addition to her speech, Monáe was there to introduce Kesha, whose past as a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of music producer Dr. Luke has been well-documented in court cases. It took five years after her label refused to allow her out of her contract so that she would no longer have to work with her abuser but Kesha came back strong with her first-ever Grammy nominations for her album Rainbow. And while she lost in her category to Ed Sheeran, she became the star of the night when she belted an emotional rendition of her song “Praying,” which she wrote about her ordeal with Dr. Luke.
On stage, Kesha was surrounded by powerful women including Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Bebe Rexha, and Andra Day.
Watch Kesha below.