NASHVILLE, Tenn, March 6, (Agencies): Pop star Kesha, who says her producer sexually and psychologically abused her, choked up after accepting an award for her stance against harassment of people.
The Human Rights Campaign Nashville on Saturday presented the pop singer with their Visibility Award, which recognized her for using her spotlight to speak out against bullying of youth.
The honor comes just after the pop singer lost an initial request last month to be freed from her contract with hitmaker Dr Luke, who denies her claims and says she is smearing him to get out of her contract.
“As many of you know I am going through some personal things that have been really intense and hard lately and I just want to say thank you for the support I have received,” she told the audience during a dinner in Nashville, Tennessee, where she grew up.
In a sworn statement in August, Kesha said that the producer, born Lukasz Gottwald, raped her a decade ago after giving her a pill that knocked her out and bullied her to lose weight.
Lawyers for Dr Luke note that Kesha said he “never made sexual advances at me” during sworn questioning in another lawsuit in 2011. Her lawyers say she was too intimidated by him for years to speak out.
At one point in her speech on Saturday, she started to choke up and stepped away from the microphone to compose herself. The audience cheered her on.
The singer, whose given name is Kesha Rose Sebert, said growing up, she was a “misfit” and was drawn to others in the community.
She said even after her career took off, she still feels like an outsider and had trouble dealing with criticism she received for just being herself.
“My message today is don’t be afraid to speak up against any injustice you experience,” she said. “Don’t let people scare or shame you into changing the things about you that make you unique.”
Kesha has said her 2010 hit song “We R Who We R” was intended to be a pride anthem for young people who have felt victimized for being themselves.
“We can’t be afraid to fight for our dignity,” she said. “These are our basic human rights.”
Supporters of the “Tik Tok” singer created a Twitter hashtag “#freekesha” and numerous other singers and celebrities have voiced their support, including Lady Gaga, Adele and Taylor Swift, who gave $250,000 for her legal fees.
Yoko Ono will not attend the launch of a retrospective of her work in France next week as she is still recovering from a severe bout of flu, gallery managers said Saturday.
The 83-year-old’s doctor had “strongly advised her against any travel before she has completely recovered”, said Thierry Raspail, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon.
The Japanese singer and artist, widow of Beatle John Lennon, “is recovering from a severe case of influenza and (is) doing well”, Raspail added in a statement, citing her doctor.
Ono was briefly hospitalised in New York last month on her doctor’s advice, but returned to her New York apartment a day later. Her son Sean Lennon said she had flu, and dismissed initial reports that Ono had suffered a stroke.
The Lyon show, Ono’s first retrospective in France, will open on Tuesday.
While she will not attend the launch, Ono “says she absolutely plans to travel to Lyon in May”, at a date which will be agreed soon, the museum statement added.
Ono still lives in the Dakota building on the edge of Central Park where Mark David Chapman in 1980 shot dead Lennon, from whom the apparently delusional gunman had earlier asked for an autograph.
Ono last month released a remix album, “Yes, I’m a Witch Too”, that features versions of her songs reworked with other artists. Contributors include prominent alternative rockers Death Cab for Cutie and punk rocker turned dark electronic DJ Moby, as well as Sean Lennon.
She has apparently been in good health, last year playing two concerts with her Plastic Ono Band at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and headlining the Chinese-oriented Modern Sky Festival in Central Park.
The Lyon show, entitled “Yoko Ono: Lumiere de l’Aube” (“Yoko Ono: Dawn Light”), will run from March 9 to July 10, will include works by the experimental artist between 1952 and 2016.