On The Guilt Of Finding Joy In Kesha’s ‘Rainbow’

Collage photo by Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Much of the album exists in a conflicting binary

“I'm a motherfucking woman, baby, alright/ I don't need a man to be holding me too tight”

Kesha’s recent single "Woman," off of her long-awaited album Rainbow, is a celebratory rallying cry for the pop feminist set. Featuring the smooth, bluesy brass tones of the Dap-King Horns, it’s a defiant anthem for womankind, and a hearty fuck you to the trappings of the patriarchy. In short, it’s a fun track destined for long nights of karaoke and road trip soundtracks. Like much of the album, it’s virtually bursting with the joy of a life well-lived. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a dedicated Kesha fan who doesn’t also interpret the track as a repudiation of one man in particular: Kesha’s longtime producer and former label boss Dr. Luke. 

Over the last few years, Kesha’s case against Dr. Luke has been widely covered, so much so that the presiding judge has commented on the coverage in open court. Kesha alleges a continued pattern of sexual and emotional abuse at the producer’s hands starting when she was just 18 years old and sued to be released from her contract so that she could restart her career without being forced to work with the man she says raped and abused her. She was unsuccessful but managed to release her album without his direct involvement despite a still ongoing case. Regardless, Dr. Luke will still profit from her new music. In that light, the album’s opening track, "Bastards," reads as a thesis statement and manifesto: “Don’t let the bastards get you down. Don’t let the assholes wear you out.” 

This puts her fans in an interesting position: Is it okay to derive joy from something that she wouldn’t have created for us without having had to endure so much torment? Is it okay to put the history of the album’s release to the side while we sing along, imagining our own pains and sorrows? The short and simple answer is yes. Kesha created music she wanted her fans to love and identify with. But art doesn’t exist without context, and the context of this album is the abuse Kesha suffered for over a decade before being able to come out on the other side. Doesn’t enjoying the fruits of that pain feel paradoxical or even cruel? As Scaachi Koul wrote for Buzzfeed

[M]any of Kesha’s listeners — particularly women, queer, and nonbinary people with their own histories of sexual trauma — didn’t just want the album to be great for her sake; we, too, needed it to be great, because wins are so few and far between for victims of abuse in society at large.

But is that expectation even fair? Why should Kesha shoulder our burdens and strife and expectations as well as her own? Shouldn’t we feel guilty for finding joy in her pain?

Much of Rainbow exists in a conflicting binary: breezy, if contemplative (and, yes, sometimes even aggressive), tracks that speak to larger truths about shaking off the haters and rising above, followed by pleading, soul-searching numbers clearly written as a means to process trauma. They’re broad enough to apply to anyone and anything, but it would be hard not to conjure one specific face while listening.

This duality leads to an album containing the utterly exuberant "Boogie Feet" and the devilishly fun "Boots," which are reminiscent of the old Kesha, the one who styled her name with a dollar sign, auto-tuned her voice, and wore trash bags on the red carpet. "Godzilla" is a lovely ditty that’s literally about dating the fictional monster. They feel like exactly the kinds of songs we’d have gotten if Kesha’s hadn’t been forced into an extended hiatus. But then songs like lead single "Praying" and the wholly triumphant "Rainbow" are big dramatic numbers intended to invoke and reflect upon the pain we know she’s endured. Even tracks like "Learn to Let Go" and "Finding You" feel like the rebellious confidence of a woman determined to pick herself back up after a harrowing detour and keep pushing forward toward her goals. Bookended by the haunting country-inflected "Spaceship" and taken as a whole, the album feels like a meditation on healing, interspersed with small moments of light and mirth. 

But the fans know the back story. The fans always know. 

Much of being a celebrity in 2017 involves cultivating a personal following; models and actresses get booked based on their Instagram followings and reality stars move products with a well-timed post on Snapchat. But that instant access has also provided fans with a direct line to the celebrities from whom we always crave more, and they can no longer easily ignore us. We’ve collapsed the distance between celebrities and their audiences, and it’s changed the way we interact with the stars we love. Just look at the years-long wait for Rihanna’s eighth album or the number of false starts before Frank Ocean released his sophomore effort. We never consider what else their lives might entail, and often view them as constant content factories who only exist to give us more of what we love. It’s an insidious kind of entitlement that denies them their humanity. We don’t give them the room to have health scares or be depressed, or fall in love, or simply walk away without demanding more of their labor. 

It’s this expectation that makes it seem perverse to “separate the art from the artist.” The art exists because of the artists, and their experiences influence what they give to us as part of their creative oeuvre. Kesha likely wouldn’t want her fans (the very ones who rallied around her when her case became public) to take on the burdens she had to shoulder just to enjoy her music; there’s no need to feel guilty. But we should also use this as an opportunity to empathize, look to our own lives for other women who’ve suffered as Kesha has, and extend to them a little extra care. That’s where the real joy lies, that’s the real end of the rainbow.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories












Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software


Baby bottles






Skin moisturizers



Bubble bath


Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations



Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers




Picture frames


Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags




Key chains



photo albums



Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council

Photograph via @kimkardashian.


Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.