Kesha kicked off 2020 by dropping an eclectic collection of bombastic dance-pop and folk-tinged ballads. Indeed, High Road, her fourth album, featured collaborations with artists as diverse as Big Freedia, Brian Wilson, Sturgill Simpson, and even her former dollar-sign Ke$ha persona. “I’ll just keep on doing what I do best,” she sings on “Shadow,” before specifying what, exactly, that is: “Pissing off people who wanna be pissed.”
It’s the same kind of energy she brought to a colorful virtual performance during Pride Live’s Stonewall Day — glamorous pink and purple eye shadow, a rainbow backdrop, and, fittingly, her essential 2017 piano song “Rainbow.” Instead of full-on bombast, though, Kesha let the powerful words speak for themselves: “When the winds are howling strong / And you think you can’t go on, hold tight, sweetheart / You’ll find a rainbow, rainbow, baby.”
As she sang, a gorgeous panoply of rainbow light washed over Kesha, bathing the scene in different colors. In April, Kesha gave another virtual performance of “Rainbow” for Global Citizen’s One World: Together At Home telecast, opting for a tender rendition of “Rainbow” at the piano. Unlike that one, though, the Stonewall Day rendition found her only singing, really tapping into her words and delivering them with gusto.
It’s the same kind of love she showed as she emotionally introduced the song. “I’m so emotional to be here today to perform in honor of the Ally Coalition, the Ruth Ellis Center, and LGBTQ youth on Stonewall Day,” she said. “I really do believe that you’re the future. You inspire me with your energy, your heart, your voices, and the way you take action.”
Back in 2013, Kesha told Seventeen magazine about the nature of attraction for her personally. “I don’t love just men. I love people,” she said. “It’s not about a gender. It’s just about the spirit that exudes from that other person you’re with.” She expanded on those thoughts in 2017 with Attitude, saying, “I never hid [my bisexuality] from anybody. I never had a moment of feeling I had to come out about it.”
Since then, she’s vocally supported and advocated for the LGBTQ+ community, including in 2016, when she spoke out for Vevo’s Why I Vote campaign. “Using your voice and your truth and standing up and talking about what you believe in and voting is your power,” she said.
It’s a message she echoed in her Stonewall Day preamble. “If you’re 18, you better be voting in November. You need to,” she said. “And if you’re not 18 yet, make sure people know you matter. You’re going to change the world.” She then dedicated “Rainbow” to, well, you.
Experience Kesha’s performance above, and find out more about Stonewall Day — a fundraiser for LGBTQ+ advocacy groups — and how to contribute right here. Stream the entire show via Logo’s YouTube and Facebook pages.