From Ke$ha to Kesha: What the drop of the dollar sign actually means
After completing treatment for an eating disorder, Ke$ha left rehab and made some major lifestyle changes, dropping the dollar sign from her name and changing her Twitter handle from @Ke$haSuxx to @KeshaRose. On the surface, these seem like pretty miniscule changes. Numerous pop artists have changed their names over the years—Prince, Snoop Lion, Panic(!) at the Disco—and have generally left their musical aesthetics and ways of life unchanged.
It’s not going to be like that for Kesha, at least in my opinion. Besides her music and heinous, glitter-loving, party-girl image, Kesha is also known for championing who you are and loving that person to the fullest. So when she went to rehab for an eating disorder, it came as a shock to fans when she admitted it “was hard to practice” the self-celebration she preached.
There was speculation as to the roots of Kesha’s disorder, predominantly centering around claims that the pressures of maintaining a certain body image when under the constant scrutiny of the media broke the artist formerly known as Ke$ha. The theory makes sense, but I’m not sure it accounts for all of what transpired.
Think about the Ke$ha we knew before she entered rehab. She was the definition of heinous—glitter everywhere, crazy make-up, the source of a seemingly endless party. She received a lot of criticism for the image she cultivated because people thought it was completely fabricated. Ke$ha once described her stage image as “her personality times 10,” so yeah, maybe it was partially who she was. But the Ke$ha persona also might have been an image that the star was forced to promote, and in all likelihood one she wasn’t happy with. Perhaps @Ke$haSuxx was a representation of that disguised-as-a-joke star with an I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude she was told she was supposed to adhere to.
More evidence for the argument that the Ke$ha image was completely fabricated and not her idea comes from the recent turmoil with her former producer, Dr. Luke. Ke$ha revealed on the second season of her show, My Crazy Beautiful Life, that she had little creative control over her second album, Warrior, and some fans even started a petition to “free” her from Dr. Luke. Pebe Sebert, Kesha’s mom, also claimed that Dr. Luke’s behavior was one of the causes of Kesha’s eating disorder, saying that he often berated Ke$ha regarding her weight, which resulted in the pop icon starving herself to near fatality.
So constant public scrutiny isn’t the whole story. Public pressure, coupled with allegations surrounding her long-time collaborator and an already present distaste for her stage identity could easily create enough self-loathing to induce such behavior. But Kesha definitely came out of rehab looking to make changes, apparent by her name change and, according to Perez Hilton, unfollowing Dr. Luke on Twitter. The drop of the dollar sign and move to her real name could represent a new, positive mentality for Kesha, one where she really does love who she is.
And if her distance from Dr. Luke means we say goodbye to the catchy, raunchy electro-pop music we’ve come to expect from her, then so be it. I believe she has enough talent necessary to bring success to the music she wants to make. As for what her new songs will sound like, only time will tell.
Kesha wrote in her book that she adopted the dollar sign as a means of creating an impression, and it certainly did. Kesha has her fame now and a fan base who loves her for what she says about being herself. Altering her name could mean she’ll venture into new music styles, change the way she presents herself, or maybe even try to play down her fame. Or it could mean none of that, and simply just represent a new chapter in her life where she has a positive image of herself. Either way, as a huge fan of her already, I look forward to seeing where this new mentality will take her, musically as well as personally.