Teachers don’t get paid enough. This simple statement is something that most people regardless of party will agree with. After all, why shouldn’t those teaching the young and impressionable minds who will lead our country be some of the most highly paid among us? However, in the 21st century, this is still not the case for most if not all teachers. Recently in Los Angeles, teachers have gone on strike and have shut down roughly 900 hundred schools due to the walkout. Although this walkout will be reported on, it will most likely pass in a few days as people move on to larger issues. Unfortunately, teachers giving up their time, energy, and money to create better learning environments will not forget so easily. So, we must ask, is there another way?
The answer is yes, and this answer can be found in different parts of the world such as South Korea. In South Korea, public schooling is mandatory for every student; however, public schools are not very good. In order to remain competitive for colleges and careers, most South Korean students go to “tutors” or night school teachers. These teachers operate on the basis of popularity. Tutors that have the most effective teaching style will have more students signed up to be in their class, and for each student, they are paid a certain amount. This popularity system helps students too because teachers are constantly switching up their styles to benefit the students. Not only that, but this system hugely benefits the tutors. Currently, the highest paid tutor in South Korea makes $4 million dollars a year. This is the equivalent of a professional sports player in the United States. The $30 billion industry of private industry academics in South Korea has led to a huge spike in literacy rates and test scores over the last 60 years. In fact, South Korean students far outstrip American students on every level in the PISA academic test.
Clearly, our current system of education is outdated. As almost every other aspect of modern technology has advanced, schooling has stayed essentially the same since the 19th century. This static nature has hurt students and public school teachers alike. Although the states have continued to spend more money per student the educational system has not improved as drastically as the amount of money spent has. The United States has the 5th highest per-student spending rate on education, but we do not place in the top ten internationally when it comes to reading, science, or math. One reason that the numbers are not improving is due to the presence of a huge emphasis on per-student funds but almost no emphasis on increasing the salary of teachers. Teachers make a huge impact on how well a student learns. This concept is clearly demonstrated in cases like that of James A. Garfield High School. This school had no AP Calculus program and very low performing students before a teacher named Mr. Escalante took his place at the school. However, Mr. Escalante created an AP Calculus program that changed the school’s reputation. Of all Mexican-American students who passed the AP Calculus exam, 26% of them had passed through his class.
One teacher has the potential to impact an entire population, inspire kids, and create a bold new generation. Allowing teachers to thrive in a free market atmosphere where they are able to earn more for outstanding work is the United States’ next step toward fairly paying teachers and giving students from every walk of life the educational opportunities they deserve. We can all agree teachers should be paid more. It’s time to have the conversation about how we get there.
Editor's note: Today marks the second day of the highly anticipated LAUSD strike, in which thousands of educators gathered to strike for more funding towards schools. Yesterday, on the first day of the strike, Los Angeles schools lost approximately $15 million. Today, amidst the striking, protesters and Los Angeles County supervisors devised a preliminary plan to provide about $10 million towards school programs.
Note: This article was originally published on 4outof5.reviews
In early August of this year, the highly anticipated film Crazy Rich Asians was forecasted to gross somewhere from 18 million to 20 million in its opening five-day weekend. However, the film seemed to break both box-office and social expectations with a ground-breaking $35.2 million gross its opening weekend and $174 million in total since then, securing the film’s role as the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the past ten years.
It has now been approximately four months since the premiere of Crazy Rich Asians. The constant flow of news articles and mainstream hype regarding the film’s release has naturally died down and been replaced by entertainment’s regularly scheduled coverage of Marvel’s latest superhero flick or scandalous celebrity gossip. However, as 2018 draws to a close, reflecting upon how the past year has impacted the entertainment industry can be telling of what audiences and society as a whole should expect from the next year; undoubtedly, Crazy Rich Asians is one of the most transformative films of the year in regards to the representation of minorities in the film and television industry.
What truly set this film apart from the hundreds of other major films released in 2018 was its concept, rather than groundbreaking cinematography or never-before-seen filmmaking techniques. 38% of the film’s opening weekend audience was of Asian-descent, unheard of when compared to the average 6% that make up theater audiences and nearly matching the 41% of Caucasians of the opening weekend viewings. Whether Asian audiences were drawn to theaters to support the film or out of simple interest for entertainment, incredible theatrical turn-outs such as these rarely occur without signs of immense cultural impact. Crazy Rich Asians is the first Hollywood film to star a primarily Asian cast in a modern setting since 1993, the year The Joy Luck Club hit theaters-- a film that explores the respective relationships between four Chinese-American women and their immigrant mothers. A similar plot is also illuminated in Crazy Rich Asians, as the film’s main character, Rachel Chu, finds that she must battle for love and self-acceptance after being introduced to her long-time boyfriend Nick Young’s overprotective and realist mother. The mother, a head figure of one of the wealthiest families in Singapore, confronts Rachel with deeply rooted prejudices against her American lifestyle and non-traditional upbringing, prompting our protagonist to prove to both herself and the Young family that her background and lifestyle will never make her less of a person. As a real life reflection of the film’s storyline, Crazy Rich Asians has proven to Hollywood that films with a diverse cast or unconventional leads can be just as wildly successful as traditional blockbusters.
There is no doubt that Crazy Rich Asians is the archetypal and cheesy romantic comedy that Hollywood loves; while this turned many critics away from the film, I would argue that this is what makes it so groundbreaking. There is a noticeable lack of Asian roles being written and Asian leads being casted, and even some roles meant for Asian actors have been played by white people. In 2015, Aloha, a film also based on a novel, was released theatrically; naturally, many audiences were extremely critical of the casting choice of Emma Stone to play a half-Asian and half-white character. It was a prime example of a Hollywood film that could have easily casted an Asian actress, both for realism and representation rarely seen on-screen, but they turned away and instead chose a well-known Caucasian actress for the role. Additionally, while a minuscule number of large production films will cast Asian leads, when an Asian actually is cast, it is far too common that a role requires an Asian actor to fit a certain stereotype. Popular representation of Indians in film are as tech-wizes or Google interns, while you can find Chinese actors playing martial arts experts in numerous of movies. The fact that Crazy Rich Asians acts as a classic romantic comedy, touching but predictable throughout, is a big step in Asian representation in film, as it proves that Asian males and females can star in romantic comedies, or any variety of films for that matter, and still see success.
The number of Asians playing typical lead roles in major film and television series seems to be growing noticeably in recent years and is beginning to give hope to Asian communities throughout the nation. In the 2016 film The Edge of Seventeen, the main character Nadine, played by Hailee Steinfeld, finds herself falling for her unbearably awkward but endearing friend Erwin, your average teenage boy, played by Asian actor Hayden Szeto. In 2018, Twitter lost its collective mind over Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, based on a novel by Jenny Han, which centers around a half-Korean teenage girl named Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, and her journey to find love amidst the chaos of growing up. Similar to Crazy Rich Asians, this film is a prime example of the romantic comedies that Hollywood pumps out regularly; what makes it so unique, however, is the choice to cast an Asian as a lead role in a film that has little to do with the fact that she is Asian. Another example of a recent film that has cast an Asian in a role that could have taken a more traditional route was the 2018 film Searching, a thriller that follows a father, played by John Cho, and his desperate search for his missing daughter, earning 92% on Rotten Tomatoes with a brilliant performance by Cho and innovative storytelling.
While Hollywood seems to be growing more comfortable with Asian representation in lead roles for both film and television, there is still a long way to go. As an Asian-American teenager growing up in Southern California, I find it hard to express in words the feeling I get when I see someone who looks like me playing a role that I see all the time but can never fully relate to, such as leads in romantic comedies. As culture becomes more immersed in film and television, it is vital that children of all genders, ethnicities, and religions grow up seeing people like them represented on-screen, as it proves that these experiences and happy endings are not restricted to one variety of people. Even more, the success of films like Crazy Rich Asians can open up countless opportunities for Asian directors, actors, and writers in the film industry. In response to why she had such a strong interest in starring as Rachel Chu in Crazy Rich Asians, Constance Wu says this:
“It’s why I advocate so much for young Asian-American girls so they might not spend their life feeling small or being commanded to feel grateful to even be at the table.”
President and Editor-in-Chief
"The Power of Kindness" by Eden Hawes (above).
Bullying: something we have all experienced in some shape or form. Unfortunately, it happens, although, I will give our world some credit because I feel like times have changed. We have definitely pulled our weight with trying to prevent bullying. Nowadays, there are many forms of wellness programs, non-profit organizations to raise awareness, and supporting hands to reach out to others. Nonetheless, it must be recognized that bullying is something that affects people in different ways. Maybe a kid picked on you at the playground when you were young, or you received a nasty comment on your post, or someone was saying rude things about you behind your back. For some victims of bullying, they can wipe it off of their shoulders easily, but for others, they carry it heavily on them for a long time.
We all know what bullying is. I am not here to explain the different types of bullying. What I am here for is to spread an important message that resonates with me deeply: kindness. Kindness is something that is extremely important in today’s society. With all of the hate in the world, there needs kindness. In many cases, the bullies are the people who need kindness the most in their lives. If someone makes you feel insecure about yourself, it’s most likely because they are insecure about themselves. So be the best you can be! Believe in yourself and have confidence that no one can crush!
“Killing them with kindness” is something I try to practice daily. It can be hard, I know. When someone says something nasty to you or your friends, it’s easy to say something nasty back. But what do we get from that? If someone says something nasty to you, and you make 'comeback' with a kind remark, you receive internal satisfaction. If you have enough confidence and willpower to let it slide, and saying something nice back it will: (1) Make you feel proud and good inside, (2) Make the bully realize that they are the one being rude, and (3) Probably make the bully’s day a little bit better because everybody needs to hear nice words in their life. If you can practice this daily, I bet you will start seeing life in more positive ways. Why have a negative outlook on life when you’ve only got one shot here on Earth? Why spend your time on this planet making enemies when you can create wonderful relationships and spread love?
I achieved my Girl Scout Gold Award this May. I made a PSA about the importance of kindness. I believe that with kindness, we can make progress to putting an end to all of the hate and crime in the world. My PSA is linked above this article and it would mean the world to me if you viewed it and shared it with everyone you know! Being kind is something all ages and different walks of life should practice, and we connect with each other when doing so.
So, the next time someone gives you a hard time, try to be kind back. It will make them stop and realize that you are being so kind. Plus, you will make their days better than when you first saw them. You never know what the smallest act of kindness can do for someone. So why not do it?
For an artist to be truly unique, they need to push past the temptation to create for others. This could mean writing a song to please a family member or record label; perhaps a film director doing their best to shock their friends with the craziest content they can put on camera. When art is done for any other reason than to satisfy the artist’s vision, it enters a confused area. Painting is a notable exception: consider portraits painted of the artists’ muses.
But let’s talk about the other side of that equation, the side that isn’t an exception. Many artists, today and in the past, have created solely for themselves. Notable examples include David Lynch and Neil Young, both artists who operate on their own schedules and decide (most of the time) when their art is ready to be released. Coincidentally, their output is often incredible.
There is a penchant for some artists to be more aggressive. When a person believes enough in themselves, why shouldn’t they ask other people to compromise for them? Jack White, who has grown into quite the auteur this year, is touring in support of his new album, and asking fans not to record or even take photos with their phones during shows. In Jack’s mind, a live show should be an intimate experience between artist and audience, not artist to audience’s camera. While I appreciate the noble nature of Jack’s request, it begs the question, is he in the moral right?
Yes, the answer is yes. That was a little test, a minor example of an artist asking more of his/her audience than is expected. Of course Jack can request for his audience to remove their phones before the show. A (much) less minor example is Johnny Depp, famed and recently disgraced actor who was accused (and in the court of public opinion, found guilty) of physically abusing his then wife, Amber Heard. Depp continues to act, and while his recent performances have been less than stellar, he has a back catalog not unlike that of Tom Cruise. In the late 90s and early 2000s, it was hit after hit. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Pirates of The Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, all great films that rely heavily on the actor’s talents, but now must be reevaluated in light of Depp’s revealed character.
This is not the first time the world has been forced to examine an artist’s work after a grisly revelation, but it is one of the few cases (along with Woody Allen) where the actor’s extreme fame paints over some of the hatred. So, if there is any confusion, here is how to deal with these situations: The artist’s past work is still good, and should not be thrown out or destroyed. However, the artist should no longer be able to enjoy the same fame and reverence as in their heyday. In short, stop casting Johnny Depp and stop giving Woody Allen movie deals if you (movie execs) really think they are guilty. By appearing in or making more films, Depp and Allen ask us to move on, to accept them warts and all on the merit of their artistic talent. This is not a compromise you should accept.
Somewhere in between the Jack White’s and Johnny Depp’s falls another group of abrasive artist. Musicians like Mark Kozelek or Jeff Tweedy (Kozelek being the more abrasive) can be hard to defend, especially when one of them releases a song called “The War on Drugs: Suck My Cock”.
While Jeff Tweedy represents the lighter side of this breed of artist, his combative tendencies mostly taking the form of responding to hecklers, singers like Mark Kozelek represent a much trickier case. Listen to any of Kozelek’s material recorded in the last five years, either as Sun Kil Moon or under his own name, and you’ll hear a profound sadness. Kozelek’s work can be challenging, and that coupled with his mean spirited nature at live shows make him a difficult artist.
Not unlike Quentin Tarantino, whose films have done more for cinema than most other directors, Mark Kozelek is a brilliant songwriter whose genius is constantly threatened by his antagonistic antics. Yet, this is part of what makes each of these artists unique. Tarantino can be awkward and rude, Kozelek can be gruff and even a jerk, but I would never ask either of them to change. These traits are part of what make them interesting.
While I would never advise someone to be abrasive on purpose, it is important to take an artist for who they are. Someone like Johnny Depp, a naturally talented actor who is also an abuser, must be taken for all of his qualities. In his case, that should mean Depp’s career doesn’t go much further. There is a middle ground, though, where artists like Mark Kozelek, Quentin Tarantino, and Jack White can thrive despite their inherently intrusive qualities. This doesn’t mean their careers should be halted or cancelled indefinitely; it simply means that if you are willing to be a fan, you have to learn to take the good with the bad. That is, unless they are a rapist or something. Then you should not do that.
Heart2Art Project Contributor
The fact of censorship is this:
a body is a body, no matter what pixels or black boxes you place over it.
For centuries, women have felt the pressure to be conservative in body exposure in fear of being viewed as unladylike or inappropriate, particularly when it pertains to their breasts. However, breasts are not "inappropriate". Although women's breasts have been sexualized, the reality is that they are just anatomical parts of the human body. Breasts are not a reproductive organ. They are on a woman’s body as a means of breastfeeding their potential children, which is something that should be celebrated and respected, not shunned and censored.
In the younger generation, a movement widely known as “free the nipple” has picked up in a larger audience. This movement originally began in the 1960s along with the beat movement, anti-war movement, and the hippie era. “Free the nipple” has been something of interest for women since the ‘60s, and it is a movement that I personally hope catches on to spread the message of acceptance of a woman’s body all around the world.
While the debate rages on regarding the appropriateness of baring the female breasts, even going braless under a shirt is consider lewd by many. Although bras provide the practical purpose of providing upright support to a woman’s breasts, many women prefer not to wear bras for various reasons. If a woman with smaller breasts do not need the support or finds wearing bras uncomfortable, she should be given the freedom and feel the acceptance if she chooses not to wear a bra.
Nipples are not something to be shunned or censored. The only biological differences between a man and woman’s breasts are potentially the size and the ability to breastfeed. We’re progressing in a direction in which women can feel more accepted in their wardrobe decisions; however, when large social media platforms such as Instagram remove or report photos that reveal a woman’s breasts or nipples, we are only moving backwards. According to Instagram’s community guidelines for users, Instagram encourages “a safe and open environment for everyone” ; however, “[they] do not allow nudity on Instagram for a variety of reasons . . . [which] also includes some photos of female nipples”. How are we meant to fully express ourselves as women if we aren’t truly given a platform for “a safe and open environment for everyone”? It’s not possible if such online censorship exists.
While many parents may decide to keep their children away from these types of images, what they need to understand is that they are shielding their children because they sexualize the female breasts. The exposed female breasts should be viewed no differently from the male breasts. In fact, the female breasts' breastfeeding purpose should be celebrated and respected. If breasts were just treated realistically as a part of the human body, women would feel more respected and inclined to express themselves. We should be given the freedom to post photos of our bodies if necessary or desired.
The censorship of a woman’s body is not aligned with maintaining respect for the woman.
The censorship of a woman’s body will not make it go away.
The censorship of a woman’s body will not demoralize the woman it disrespects.
The censorship of a woman’s body is unjust.
VP of Events + VP of Journalism and Publications
Our society has made major steps towards gender equality within the past few decades, from the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 1840s to the US prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination in 2009. However, with Greta Gerwig recently becoming the fifth woman in history to be nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Director, further attention has been brought to the issue of inequality within the film industry.
While the rights of men and women may appear entirely equal on paper, the playing field remains alarmingly unlevel, as our nation’s long history with societal expectations and patriarchal systems has left a lack of opportunity for talented and deserving female creators in the modern day. Women continue to be tremendously underrepresented on screen, with an average of 2.3 male characters for every female in a given film, with this number remaining practically static throughout the past decade. Even more disturbing may be how women are represented in film, with significant controversy surrounding the issue being sparked following Jessica Chastain’s closing statements at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, as a vast majority of films represent women from what is known as the “male gaze”, or how men see the world and its inhabitants. As women make up only about 18% of directing, writing, producing, editing, and cinematography jobs within the film industry, an alarming lack of female representation behind the camera has led to an abundance of films and television shows being released that depict women as merely accessories to a male lead or characters whose actions are solely reactions to those of the men around them. As both girls and women around the globe often look towards the big-screen for empowerment, inspiration, or a role model, a more accurate depiction of females within films and television must be prioritized if a better example is to be set for the other half of the population.
There is no doubt that women are just as capable as men are when it comes to working in the film industry, and an increase of women behind the camera would surely produce a larger number of films told from the female perspective and provide more chances for females in the industry to make their mark. However, a number of factors have left a lack of opportunity for female filmmakers to become successful and have made well-known female filmmakers so rare, and deeply rooted sexism and stereotypes in the industry has proved great resistance for those looking to make their way in Hollywood. While it would be expected that women would be able to find their own way into Hollywood thanks to hard work and talent, this is not the reality females in film face. In response to the inequality presented in the film industry, a number of initiatives have sprouted to provide more opportunities to deserving female directors, screenwriters, and more, and the hope of these programs is to increase female influence within the industry to begin a cycle of diversity. Greater diversity within the industry would lead to the representation of more groups on screen, but females both on and off screen must first break down a long-time barrier that has left women underrepresented for decades. As the film industry must adjust to societal shifts concerning female representation in order to progress on a social level and address the needs of a wider audience, we must start to ask ourselves what more we could be doing to break down the barrier that is preventing a change. Greta Gerwig, an award winning actress, writer, and director, is an outstanding example of what women are capable of in the industry, and, if we are to see more talented women just like Gerwig getting the credit and opportunities that they deserve, the issue of inequality both on and behind the screen must be recognized and a greater effort must be put towards expanding the reach of opportunities to those who are well-deserving but ultimately ignored.
Founder and President of H2A
On March 19, 2005, my father killed himself. Thirteen years later, my family still cannot hear the word "suicide" without a cringing pain in their hearts. My mum told me she will never ride the Haunted Mansion because of the prop of a noose.
To this day, his suicide haunts not only his side of the family, or my mum's side, but to anyone who knew him. Suicide is never the answer.
It sounds fake to say, but it spreads like a wildfire of pain. I am not just some sad person saying it either: I struggle with very serious depression too. My older brother has a son, and, to see my step-father play with him, brings tears to my eyes because, if my dad was watching over him, he would now give anything to play and smile with him.
Recently, people have been taking suicide as a joke, a relatable "meme," but who has to suffer with the suicide of a close or loved one to know that it is not something to take lightly? Suicide is the last thing you crave when you are too mentally depressed and empty.
My freshmen year, I tried to take my own life. The first thought was, "My mum can't find another dead body," and then, "Why would I go through with this when I know how it will affect everyone?" I know for a fact that there are people around you who care about you, whether you know it or not.
After that, I had gone to my Mum to try and get help, saying that I was depressed, and she brushed it off saying it was "teen emotions." Finally, there came a time when I had to scream to her face, explaining and yelling out all of my emotions to finally get help.
I now have to take medicine to help me to never get that way again, and meet with a therapist to help. It takes some different tries to get it right, but it will help.
I want to come and try to explain how badly suicide is. And it is not a joke. I feel nothing but true sadness when I hear it thrown around so easily among teens, and I remember that I have my dad's ashes and it's not something to try and act relatable with. Saying you want to die or kill yourself is a serious accusation.
Huntington Beach, California
The recently released film, “Love, Simon”, starring Nick Robinson, highlights a teenage boy’s story of coming out as gay to the world and his journey towards accepting himself for who he truly is. In the film, Simon communicates with another boy in his grade that is a closeted gay, and they move through the beautiful journey of coming out together. The film does a fantastic job at exploring the relatable experience of a teenage boy's coming out story without making it feel like a classic cliche "gay" film that has been worn out by Hollywood. This film did not tell the story of a boy who faced rejection by the outside world for his sexuality, but rather told a genuine story of friendship, love, and self-acceptance. There are far too little mainstream Hollywood films that depict gay teenagers as normal kids, so that is exactly what this film sought after. After watching this film, I can truly say that I feel inspired. The story and hardships that come with Simon’s story of coming out is so heartwarming and heartfelt. I highly recommend this film for anyone who may be experiencing similar hardships with their sexuality, or anyone who has trouble coming out to world for the person that they are.
This movie helps to open the minds of so many people, as Simon’s story of being gay reveals all aspects of difficulty and fear that comes with finding yourself and understanding your sexuality or genuine self. Heart2Art hopes to appeal to all readers towards understanding that one’s sexuality does not determine “who you are”, but really just contributes to how wonderful you are as a whole human being. The world is growing to be more accepting, and, with such a wide spectrum of sexuality, the idea that each sexuality and variety of person is beautiful and meant to be embraced is beginning to be further understood by more individuals. Everyone is loved and everyone is wonderful. Love is love. I recommend seeing this wonderful masterpiece of a film and to open each of your minds and hearts to both the wide array of people in the world and to who you genuinely are as an individual.
No matter your sexuality, teens are notable for their struggle to understand and accept themselves. While "Love, Simon" focuses specifically on the difficulties teens may face when coming out as gay to the world and learning to accept themselves, even if it may not be the person they have always thought of themselves to be, the film as a whole sends the important message to the youth watching that you can never truly be content with yourself until you learn to love yourself for who you are naturally. In the film, Simon notes that one of the reasons that it became so hard for him to come out is that he felt compelled to hold onto the person that he had always been for just a bit longer. Simon's fear that he would be treated as a different person or that he would feel like a different person drove him to the point where accepting himself became synonymous with accepting an entirely new person as his identity in his mind. This film is an essential step is teaching teenagers that, even if who you "truly are" is not what you have always pictured yourself as, it has always been a part of you. By coming to terms with yourself, you are not changing who you have always been. You are only embracing it.
VP of Events
VP of Journalism and Publication
Throughout my life, I have seen the toll that depression takes on people I love. It was hard to understand and connect to how these people were feeling, as I could never put myself in their situation. I could never see how it didn’t matter if they were surrounded by love and everything that could make them happy. I could not see how it could hit a person at any time and ruin every thought and movement for the rest of the day or week or even month.
A close friend of mine went through the worst year of his life during his junior year. When I finally talked to him about it, he told me it would probably happen to me at some point in high school, but I highly doubted him. I had always been sincerely happy throughout my life. Of course, I have been occasionally sad about the usual stuff--friend and family drama, boys, and other small things that affected my life--but nothing like what he described to me, nothing that could make me feel hopeless, nothing that could ever make me want to end my life.
In 2005, producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald convinced a 17-year old Kesha Rose Sebert to dropout of high school in Tennessee and relocate to Los Angeles to record under his label, Kemosabe Records, a branch of Sony Music. She worked with Gottwald on several projects leading up to her 2009 breakout hit, “TiK ToK,” sang under the moniker Ke$ha. “TiK ToK” became an instant party anthem and remains widely recognizable by teens and young adults alike. Between her first and second albums, Animal (2010) and Warrior (2012), the public began to take note of rising tensions between Ke$ha and Gottwald; it was alleged that Ke$ha was forced to sing graphic lines in her single “Die Young” following the Sandy Hook incident in December of 2012. In early 2014, Ke$ha was admitted to a rehab facility under the claims that Gottwald had sexually and physically abused her. Upon leaving rehab, Ke$ha returned to being Kesha, signifying a gradual departure from Gottwald and Sony Music.
In October of 2014, Kesha filed her first lawsuit against Gottwald for an abundance of charges including sexual assault and battery to which Gottwald countersued her for defamation. To make matters worse, when seeking an injunction to disconnect from Gottwald and Kemosabe Records, Kesha sought help from Sony Music but they disregarded her claims of abuse and harassment and her injunction was later denied in 2016. In April, her claims against Gottwald were dismissed by a judge and in March of 2017, when seeking to amend a case, a judge denied, claiming that she had not paid her royalties.
Finally in July of last year, Kesha released her first single in nearly 4 years, “Praying,” along with an essay about finding peace with herself and coping with the nightmares of her personal life and societal issues. In the wake of Hollywood scandals such as that of Harvey Weinstein, “Praying” has become an anthem for the #MeToo movement for those seeking to be heard- those who are not given a voice while their experiences need to be shared. And last night, January 28th, at the 2018 Grammy Awards, Kesha was joined by Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Cindy Lauper, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels, and the Resistance Revival Chorus in performing her single. In an empowering, emotional performance of solidarity and sisterhood, Kesha and her fellow singers and friends brought the audience together to address the unseen issues and oppression in both the music industry and in society. Gradually distancing herself from her past, Kesha’s performance was a testament to her talent and her strength even after such a crisis ridden past.
Huntington Beach, CA