At Billboard’s Women in Music Awards on December 9, Kesha took to the stage to receive her Trailblazer award, and she delivered a speech that touched on the huge hurdles she’s conquered in the last year — and where she’ll continue to find the strength to do so moving forward.
“I’ve never really thought of myself as a trailblazer,” she began. "I'm just as scared and flawed as any person I know. My message has always been to believe in yourself and love yourself just as you are. When I sing and write those words, I do so as a reminder to myself as much as anyone else."
Kesha has been embroiled in a legal battle with Dr. Luke, the producer who allegedly sexually and emotionally abused her, and his label that she's signed to, Sony subsidiary Kemosabe, for the majority of this year. She's also spoken out against those who've made hurtful comments about her body, blows that hit especially hard given her struggle with and treatment of an eating disorder and depression. Even still, she managed to mount her Fuck the World tour to get back out there and connect with her fans during this difficult, trying time, and she's determined to move forward.
"If I'm lucky enough to have a voice that someone will listen to, then I should use it for good, for truth," she continued. "And that is why I have recently spoken openly about some of my struggles, including my crippling anxiety and being in recovery from an eating disorder amongst many other things. And I know I'm not alone." She cites the universal nature of these struggles as her motivation to "try to live up to and practice the self-worth and self-love that I preach in my music," and shares that that's been a massive help as she's gotten through the challenges of her 2016.
"I know it's scary, but once you take the first steps to help yourself, your life will completely change in the best ways," she said. "I never dreamed about winning awards for talking honestly about uncomfortable things. I wanted everyone to like my songs, and think I looked pretty, and think my videos were awesome, so it's mind-blowing to be honored like this after the very public year I've had ... This is a huge reminder that I can't give up. I have to keep fighting for the truth, and I have to keep fighting for my dreams. And if I can't give up, neither can anyone else out there with big dreams. If you keep showing up for yourself, you can move mountains."
Those are most definitely the words of a trailblazer. Congrats, Kesha.