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Editorial: “’Til It Happens to You”

A Fight Against American Culture: Kesha’s Struggle

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image courtesy of mirror.uk

image courtesy of mirror.uk

image courtesy of mirror.uk

Jonny Kandell, Editor

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Oscar Sunday will now serve as a beacon of hope to many Americans living in unwarranted guilt and shame. In between awards, victims of sexual assault proudly and bravely walked center stage during a beautifully sung piece by Lady Gaga. So rarely nowadays do songs delve so deep into hot-button topics, but Gaga hit the nail on the head. Tantamount to Macklemore’s eye-opening and long overdue song about acceptance and equality, “Same Love,” Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens To You”’s progressive message is a much-needed reminder to the American people that consent is a basic human right.

Vice President Joe Biden, a consistent and powerful voice against sexual assault, spoke a very powerful message while introducing Lady Gaga’s performance on the Oscar stage. His call to end victim-blaming led to a standing ovation.

Lady Gaga was dressed in white and ready to slay, armed with only a piano and one of the purest voices in the music industry. Gaga’s message to end victim blaming directly relates to the ongoing legal battle between artist Kesha and her Sony producer, Dr. Luke.

Kesha is a party animal. Her music provokes dance and passion, giving the American youth an excuse to let loose and act like they’re gonna’ Die Young. Her voice has blessed the Billboard Top 100 for years, drawing in millions of dollars and fans to join her revolution.

Behind her face of glitter is a person who has been hurt. An artist who has been emotionally and physically taken advantage of. Kesha claims that her producer, Dr. Luke, has been sexually harassing (physically and verbally) and fat-shaming her, and he has even gone so far as to rape her since she began her musical journey in 2011.

Why hasn’t Kesha been releasing new music these last couple of years? It is because she is in a heated legal battle with Sony and Dr. Luke. To make more money for her rapist is something Kesha refuses to do, so she remains silent in the studio. Her contract commands her to produce eight more albums under Dr. Luke’s supervision. The lawsuit, that took a devastating loss in mid-February, isn’t asking for Dr. Luke to pay for his heinous crimes. It’s solely to release Kesha from her Sony contract, so she could go back to doing what she loves: making music.


 

Now I’m gonna rant. I remained veryyyyy profesional and unbiased throughout the beginning of this article. But anyone who knows me, even people that don’t know me, know one thing: I LOVE Kesha. Every song of hers has a permanent place in my heart… and my ipod. Every since she came to fruition with “Tik Tok,” I’ve been following her journey as a dedicated fan. She’s a tough gal who sings what she wants and slays at what she does. When she’s not belting out awesome underrated jams like “Dirty Love” and “C’mon,” she’s opening up to us as if we were her diary. She tells us of her deepest regrets and past relationships that went sour; nothing is off limits to Kesha.

She trusts us, and we trust her. Kesha encourages us to stop hiding and start living. I liked to believe we knew her. But we didn’t and we don’t.

Nobody could have guessed that Kesha would be a victim of rape and sexual assault. And that’s the problem with our society, we overlook everything and anything. We dismiss the things that are foreign to us because we don’t like to believe that rape is a serious problem in our towns and neighborhoods. We invoke rape culture in songs and jokes. We make light of a plague that has been slowly breaking the people in our country. Kesha’s openness to this situation is rare and, in a way, beautiful. What Dr. Luke did to her could have destroyed her. But instead she chooses to fight the injustice and try to escape the pain of working with  a rapist.

It’s not a matter of if Dr. Luke actually raped Kesha or caused her physical and emotional harm through countless alleged sexual assault cases. This is about a woman who is clearly scared for not just her career, but her life. Kesha wants to sing, but she’s imprisoned in a contract with a monster. Dr. Luke also represents Demi Lovato (listen to “Stone Cold” on her new album; it’s incredible) and Demi has had problems with him, too.  Demi claims that Dr. Luke steals songs that she has written and gives them to other artists if Demi doesn’t sing them the way he wants to hear them. Kesha has 118 songs that she’s written and wanted to release, but Dr. Luke says that he either doesn’t like them or has given them to other artists. Under Luke’s contract, she is a treated like a dog on a VERY tight leash. She is “unable to sing the national anthem on television, post youtube videos without [Dr. Luke’s] consent, write songs for other artists without [Dr. Luke’s] consent, do covers of songs without Dr. Luke’s consent, or release her own music without Dr. Luke’s consent” (Shady Music Facts). Take note of the irony of Dr. Luke, an alleged rapist, having to give consent for everything Kesha wants to do. Pathetic.

The day of Kesha’s court case was a day that my heart sank. I was following Kesha’s journey to that point, anxiously waiting for her freedom. It’s been so long since she released anything new, and insider reports said that if she won the court case, she would have been able to release an album that night. I was eager to get her back. When the judge denied Kesha’s request to get out of her contract with Sony, it hurt me. The picture of her crying in court gives me chills every time I see it. It’s the face of a broken artist. The face of someone without hope.

The outbreak of support on twitter was outstanding. Nobody really posted about the case before it went to trial, but after the news of Kesha’s trial going sour, her story spread like wildfire. Trending for three days and reaching millions of tweets with the hashtag #FreeKesha, the support must have been overwhelming to Kesha. Celebrities like Taylor Swift (who pledged to donate a quarter-million dollars to Kesha’s legal battle), Zedd, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Halsey, Tegan and Sarah and of course, Lady Gaga, openly disagreed with the court’s decision of keeping Kesha confined. A list of all celebrity tweets about #FreeKesha can be found here: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/02/19/kesha-dr-luke-stars-react.

In “Animal,” Kesha sings “I am in love/ with what we are/ not what we should be.” That message of open acceptance is something I’ve always admired about Kesha. Her passion for music is equal to her desire to live life to the fullest. There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Luke is a monster, a bully, and deserves worse than prison. In May, the court will reconvene to discuss opening the rape allegations again. We need to stand by Kesha’s side until that court date comes. We need to tell Sony, and the world, that rape is something that can be, and needs to be, prevented.

We need to free Kesha.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Editorial: “’Til It Happens to You””

  1. melissa on March 7th, 2016 7:15 pm

    Jonny I love this and you

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Editorial: “’Til It Happens to You”