Musical Musings: Social justice warrior


Ilena Peng

When I think of Kesha, I recall the Kesha who still used the “$” sign in her name. Kesha’s dyed hair and nose piercing made her what all the “cool kids” listened to back in 2009. And whether I liked it or not, her song “Tik Tok” became the unofficial anthem of my fourth grade year, along with Justin Bieber’s “Baby” — both of which my parents considered “trashy music from trashy people.”

A few years later, she has toned down that wild child look a little. Or maybe every other pop star has just become even wilder.

A recent court case’s verdict denied Kesha’s petition for freedom from the contract that required her to only produce music with her producer and alleged sexual abuser. And in light of the Dr. Luke-Kesha controversy, I took it upon myself to recall those good old days and found a few songs that I used to listen to religiously, “Warrior” being one of them.

The entertainment industry has extended its reach far beyond Hollywood, with artists constantly traveling and tabloids following their every move.

And social media guarantees that the awareness continues past the press. For every controversial article in the news, there are thousands more opinions on social media platforms.

To me, it seems that all these opinions contradict each other. As with many court cases, evidence comes up that seems extremely valid. And lawyers contradict that with evidence that seems more valid.

I do think that it is arguably impossible to find the real truth in the case. But I stand behind Kesha. Even though no one can determine who will win the court case, Kesha will still have made a positive impact on society, having brought awareness to the issues of feminism and sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

We are the misfits

Our generation sticks out among others like a sore thumb. It’s a generation where people obsessively take selfies, where people can get famous and make a living off of having a nice butt, where five-second clips saying “damn Daniel” can make you a national phenomenon.

It is a generation where people become famous for all the things that they shouldnít be famous for. And all because of social media. It’s a generation where entertainment is the priority and all other real matters in this world are overlooked at times. Everyone wants a laugh and no one really wants to acknowledge all the sorrow in the world, which is only logical.


But when our generation wants to discuss those matters, social media is the first and foremost outlet to flock to. Trending hashtags form overnight and tweets are retweeted by the millions.

We are the bad kids, the degenerates

Our generation is also the one where people choose to stare at phones instead of talking to people. It’s a generation where social media has taught us everything we know. Our strong opinions spawn new protests and movements overnight.

But despite being dubbed the “selfie generation” by some, when real causes like #FreeKesha show up, selfies stop and we all look to social media to share our opinions.

Of course, there might always be more people that know about “damn Daniel” than people who know about #FreeKesha, or the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But regardless, social media has become an effective platform, not only for entertainment, but for news.

We ain’t perfect but that’s alright

Many of the flaws of our generation lie in our attachment to social media, but just the same, thatís where many of our strengths lies. Social media has brought to light an unbelievable number of important issues from racism to rape.

Love us or hate us nothin’ can break us

Keshaís song “Warrior” was written almost four years ago and when I first heard it, I thought that it was just another basic pop song about being strong and fighting for what you believe in. But considering all that’s happened, I really do think that although Kesha was truly a misfit when she gained popularity, she’s become a warrior.

And whether or not she wins the upcoming court case, she’ll have succeeded in winning over the hearts of other influential figures in the music industry and the population itself. Social media has proved over and over its influence on our generation and that influence is too large to not be used to make a difference in the world.

#FreeKesha isn’t just a rallying call to support Kesha, it’s a social media shoutout that brings awareness to feminism and harassment. Perhaps social media isn’t our generation’s fatal hamartia after all.

Originally published in the Mar. print issue of El Estoque