Kesha may not have won a Grammy last night, but she definitely won the Grammys, so to speak. Her performance of “Praying” was so deeply moving, it left everyone shook, including her label, Sony Music. In a profound display of female solidarity, she was joined onstage by Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Andra Day, Camila Cabello, and Bebe Rexha. The power ballad was inspired by the singer’s alleged rape and sexual assault at the hands of producer Dr. Luke, for which she attempted to sue him in 2014. However, the label’s attempt to congratulate Kesha for her performance was met with some serious resistance on Twitter, given Sony Music’s vague stance in Kesha’s legal battle.
The label tweeted, with a photo of the performance, “No words. All love. #GRAMMYS,” which had a ton of people on Twitter like, TF? Fans wasted no time calling out the label for allegedly talking out of both sides of its mouth, leading to the tweet getting deleted. Others revived #FreeKesha, a hashtag that’s previously been used to advocate for the singer’s liberation from her contract.
In a 2015 lawsuit, Kesha accused Sony Music of complicity, claiming label executives “either knew of the conduct and turned a blind eye, failed to investigate Dr. Luke’s conduct, failed to take any corrective action, or actively concealed Dr. Luke’s abuse.” The label has said it “was not in a position to terminate the contractual agreement with Dr. Luke and Kesha.” (Insert side-eye here.) What’s worse, the producer is said to still be cashing in on his company's stake in the publishing rights to Kesha’s work.
It’s worth noting that Dr. Luke denied Kesha’s allegations and countersued the artist for defamation. In 2016, Kesha dropped the suit, through which she had sought to exit her contract with Dr. Luke and Sony Music. “Praying” was her first single since the bitter legal battle. It earned Kesha her first Grammy nominations, including one Best Pop Solo Performance. Ed Sheeran ended up taking home the award for “Shape of You,” which, while a catchy tune, is basically about a dude in a club obsessing over some girl’s body. In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and Kesha's incredible performance, her snub seemed rather tone-def. Pun intended. No offense, Ed.