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Kesha: Warrior Spirit

WHEN RAPPER FLO RIDA’S “RIGHT ROUND” HIT NUMBER ONE, it had unexpected consequences for one particular young girl. In 2009, Kesha was an uncredited collaborator on the chart-busting single. And all of a sudden, people began to take notice of Kesha Rose Sebert, who was performing under the alias Ke$ha.

For years, she was the girl with the dollar sign in her name. The selfappointed stylized moniker was supposed to be ironic. Kesha had come up with it when hanging out with a friend. Despite the success of “Right Round,” which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, she was broke. She never benefitted financially from the hit song. Kesha said, “It was number one in a bajillion countries and I didn’t have enough money to buy myself a taco.”

Kesha added, “I was talking to one of my friends about it and I was like, ‘What the hell!’ I literally had two dollars to my name, and she was like, ‘Whatever. You don’t need money. You’re money.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! I’m money!’ So the dollar sign was really just me taking the piss out of the fact that I was broke while being on a numberone record. It’s actually just being ironic about the whole money thing, because I actually stand for the opposite of putting a lot of emphasis on money.”

By 2010, when she released her debut album Animal, she had reached the top of the charts on her own with the first single “Tik Tok.” Her sultry solo topped the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and sold 610,000 digital units in one week. Other chart-topping songs flowed forth from the album, including the buoyant “Your Love Is My Drug” and the anti-bullying anthem, “We R Who We R.”

Fame is strange, and unnatural, and I’m grateful for it. Mainly because it has put me in the position where I can actually do something positive for the world.

In 2012, she released her second album, Warrior. She wasn’t done collaborating with other successful musicians. In 2013, she contributed to Pitbull’s hit single, “Timber.”

Her meteoric rise to fame has not been without personal struggle. In 2014, after a stay at Timberland Knolls seeking treatment for eating disorder, the pop star dropped the dollar sign moniker. She opted to use her real name and even changed her Twitter handle to @KeshaRose. In March, 2014, she posted “Happy to be back! Feeling healthy and working on tons of new music…I can’t thank fans enough for the support u have given me.”

On March 6, 2016, Kesha won the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award. The prestigious award is presented to those who use their elevated positions to benefit the LGBT community. At the ceremony a teary-eyed Kesha said, “Fame is strange, and unnatural, and I’m grateful for it. Mainly because it has put me in the position where I can actually do something positive for the world.”

She added, “It’s really hard to find confidence in yourself and love yourself when the world criticizes you for being yourself. Believe me, when I sing these words, I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to everyone else.”

Kesha doesn’t identify as gay or straight. In an article for Seventeen magazine, she said, “I don’t just love men. I love people. It’s not about a gender. It’s just about the spirit that exudes from the person you’re with.”

Kesha elaborated her stance on defending LGBT rights. She said, “I’m all about standing up to gay/lesbian/transgender bullying.”

Kesha is standing up to bullies. The pop star has a brother who gets made fun of because he stutters. She said, “I have zero tolerance for making fun of others.”

She is a warrior, after all.

Kesha headlines Pride in the Street on Saturday, June 11
For ticket info, visit pittsburghpride.org/tickets or 888-71-TICKETS

Michael Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and sit-down author. As a comedian, he has performed all around the country, most notably, the Ice House, the Comedy Store and the Improv in Los Angeles. As a writer, Michael Buzzelli has been published in a variety of websites, magazines and newspapers. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant,’ Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine. He is also a Moth Grand Slam storyteller and actor. His books, "Below Average Genius," a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column in the Observer-Reporter, and his romantic comedy,  “All I Want for Christmas," are on sale at Amazon.com. He is working on a LGBTQ romantic comedy called, “Why I Hate My Friends.” You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. (He / Him / His)