Why Controversial Singer Ke$ha Appeals to Bullied Kids and Misfits

As someone that’s been bullied my entire life, I know first-hand how this type of victimization can destroy lives and relationships. It is imperative that we empower kids to believe love and support are louder than anyone that brings us down.
--Ke$ha, Love is Louder

Pop singer Ke$ha has become a magnet for bullied kids and misfits. There are teenagers who say the only reason they want to live is because of her. Recently a troubled young man sent her a tweet saying that he wanted to take his own life.

I felt like ending my life today! I've had the worst night ever and was made to feel like s**t! But you pulled me through it <3

Ke$ha responded back with:

don't ever give up. be YOU. Be a WARRIOR

I came across a comment from a man who said his daughter had told him she wanted to kill herself but didn't because Ke$ha was getting her through it. He expressed his gratitude in the comment that Ke$ha won't ever see because she said she's too scared to read what people say about her.

Kesha with her little brother. She comes from a very close-knit family
Kesha with her little brother. She comes from a very close-knit family

Animal By Ke$ha

The first verse of Ke$ha's song Animal is inspirational to many bullied people.

I am in love,
With what we are,
Not what we should be.
And I am,
I am starstruck.
With every part,
Of this whole story.

There's also a moving scene in Ke$ha's MTV docu-series My Crazy Beautiful Life where a nervous teenage boy approaches her at a Meet and Greet and asks her to read something he wrote. He said he was being bullied and her song Animal helped him get through it. As he walks away, Ke$ha in a voiceover says that it's not ok to torture people for being who they are. Ke$ha stayed in contact with him to make sure he was ok.

If all you know about Ke$ha are her songs Die Young and Tik Tok and her regular "oddball" behavior, you may wonder why so many troubled young people have latched onto her. Ke$ha is probably one of the most hated people in pop music. Read any article about her on the web and you'll see comment after comment about how gross, disgusting, slutty and evil she supposedly is. Some people express bewilderment and disgust at the fact that so many young people look up to Ke$ha and see her as a role model. So, why would such a hated figure be such an inspiration to so many kids who won't die young because she is helping them get through their difficulties?

Fans often see their favorite artists very differently from how nonfans see them
Fans often see their favorite artists very differently from how nonfans see them
Kesha's fans (called Animals) often see her as an inspirational figure who helps them deal with challenges like bullying
Kesha's fans (called Animals) often see her as an inspirational figure who helps them deal with challenges like bullying

Ke$ha asks people to stop being hateful in her song Love Into the Light

Kesha and her mother writing the self empowerment anthem Warrior

And for the record, Ke$ha has never gotten a DUI or anything of the sort. (Party responsibly!) Nor has she been the subject of publicity she can’t control. She is more in control than you think. In fact, I see her as an emblem of the fact that it’s totally possible for a young girl to drink alcohol and have premarital sex without ruining her life.

-- Jamie Peck, In Defense Of Ke$ha (Not That She Needs It) - thegloss.com

Every celebrity has fans that are so in love with them that it can be an escape from their problems. For Ke$ha that's a bit different though. Outsiders seem to make up much of her core fanbase. She doesn't seem to have broad appeal at all. She has sold millions of albums and singles, had 7 consecutive top 10 hits yet has half the Twitter following one hit wonder Carly Rae Jepsen has.

Kesha Sebert is the daughter of a single mother. Her mother is a hippie, so Kesha was raised without the social norms and expectations most of us are raised with. Her mother Pebe Sebert is a country music songwriter who co-wrote the country classic Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You, a song Ke$ha herself did a beautiful cover of. Kesha was raised around freethinking hippies and musicians. She doesn't seem to be aware of the behavioral lines that she shouldn't cross (from a societal point of view) or she feels like they should be ignored because they're wrong. She says or does whatever she wants and then seems genuinely bewildered by the hostility thrown at her.

And in fairness, she never does anything really bad. She doesn't have substance abuse problems, trouble with the police, affairs, or Twitter rants. She's never had bad publicity for doing anything wrong. She never says a bad thing about anyone and actually goes out of her way to say nice things. She uses her celebrity to promote animal rights. She's outspoken against bullying and has signed onto MTV's Love is Louder anti-bullying campaign. She can be a bit wacky but she's one of the better behaved celebrities.

People aren't hostile toward her because she's bad or mean. A lot of the hostility toward her is simply because she's different. Her behavior is different. Her values are different. Not in a bad way but different. She's hated because she doesn't fit society's expectations of how we should behave. People who are "normal" don't get her. Understandably outcasts latch onto that. They're hated for being different, so they connect with someone who they see going through the same things. The bullied often don't care if Ke$ha violates social norms because their own tormentors are the enforcers of normal. They come to despise the people who think they are better and sit in judgment of those who can't or don't want to fit in. Ke$ha's openness, nonjudgmentalism and acceptance of differences makes outsiders feel better about themselves.

Ke$ha Quotes

"I used [negative comments] to motivate me then, and I still do. I remember every person who told me I couldn’t do something or that I was ugly or too fat."

"I'm all about standing up to gay/lesbian/transgender bullying, but it’s also about my little brother. He's 13 and he gets made fun of because he has a stutter. I just have zero tolerance for people making fun of others."

"I’m very much into making fun of myself because other people do it so you have to be able to laugh at yourself. The sooner you can laugh at yourself, the easier your life will be."

"It breaks my heart that people haven’t found out how to be nice to each other."

Ke$ha's Appeal

I think Ke$ha has broad appeal to outsiders and misfits for a few reasons:

  • She was an outcast herself growing up and got through it. She was bullied at school but still scored 1500 out of 1600 on her SATs and she got accepted to Ivy League colleges. When Pebe Sebert tried to get her daughter into the music business at the age of 14, people laughed them out of their offices. Kesha was told she shouldn't pursue a singing career because she was too ugly to make it. She used that negativity and rejection as motivation to succeed. Kesha ended up struggling to break into the music industry on her own after her mother's failed attempts to get her a contract.
  • She's still an outcast often seeming out of place among the other major pop girls
  • She's nice. You'll never hear Ke$ha put down or demean anyone. She doesn't tear down other people to build herself up. She's never pretentious. Her acceptance of others and lack of judgment appeals to people who feel judged and demeaned all the time.

Ke$ha Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You

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Comments 6 comments

Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

This was wonderful. It was full of facts about Kesha that I never knew. I don't know how anyone could say she is ugly though??? This was a positive hub about a person who adds good things to the world. Thanks for enlightening the rest of us about Kesha. Voted up and interesting.

Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks Karen. She was a little overweight as a teen, so I assume that's what the ugly comments were based on. It really wasn't a very nice thing to tell a child though.

jimmyglaughlin profile image

jimmyglaughlin 3 years ago from Colorado

Good for her! I gained a little respect for her after this.

Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks jimmyglaughlin.

Bryan 3 years ago

Ke$ha is pretty harmless. So, what if she has some songs with "inappropriate" lyrics. Most singers do. Not every song has to be child-friendly. She seems like a really good person.

Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California Author


People who criticize lyrics drive me crazy for the same reason. Singers shouldn't have to censor themselves because kids exist. Ultimately, it's up to parents to decide what their kids listen to.

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