Janelle Monae called “Time’s Up” on harassment and abuse of power as she introduced a moving Grammy performance from Kesha.
The actress and singer labelled Kesha “fearless” with the pop star joined by an all-star ensemble including Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, and Andra Day.
Monae’s rallying cry saw her tell the audience at New York City’s Madison Square Garden: “We come in peace, but we mean business.
“And to those who would dare to silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s Up.”
Janelle Monae introduces a performance by Kesha (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
She added: “It’s not just going out in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington, it’s right here in our industry as well,” she said.
“Just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well.
“Let’s work together, women and men, as a united music industry committed to making more safe work environments, equal pay and access for all women.”
She celebrated Kesha for speaking “her truth” on her album Rainbow before the latter performed Praying dressed all in white.
Following the performance Kesha thanked the Recording Academy – the body who organise the Grammys – for giving her the opportunity to perform.
She wrote on Twitter: “After everything you’ve done I can thank you for how strong I have become.”
“Thank you to the @RecordingAcad, the women on stage with me tonight, and everyone who has supported me through this whole journey.”
It came after dozens of stars turned up to the event sporting white roses in reference to the Time’s Up and Me Too campaign which aim to highlight sexual assault and harassment as well as provide legal support for alleged victims.
Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and host James Corden were just some of those wearing the floral tribute while Elton John performed with a white rose on the top of his piano.
Lorde took a different route, pinning a excerpt from one of visual artists Jenny Holzer’s essays on her dress.
She shared an Instagram photo of the message, writing it was “her version of a white rose”.
The excerpt reads: “Rejoice! Our times are intolerable. Take courage, for the worst is a harbinger of the best. Only dire circumstances can precipitate the overthrow of oppressors. The old & corrupt must be laid to waste before the just can triumph.
“Contradiction will be heightened. The reckoning will be hastened by the staging of seed disturbances. The apocalypse will blossom.”
Ora pinned her rose – picked by campaigners for its symbolism with hope, peace, sympathy and resistance – to the lower shoulder of her black structured gown while Smith paired his with a forest green suit.
New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray also wore the roses while rapper Cardi B clutched her white rose in her hand.
The campaign was launched on Wednesday after a group of music executives came up with the idea and comes weeks after Hollywood stars wore black at the Golden Globes in a similar protest.
Speaking on the red carpet, Sting spoke about Time’s Up and Me Too, telling the BBC it was “an important conversation”.
He added: “It’s a time of learning and hopefully, eventually, a time of healing.”
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