Madonna and Kesha were both honored at Billboard’s annual Women In Music awards on Friday night. Madonna won Woman Of The Year and Kesha won the Trailblazer Award, and during the ceremony that aired tonight on Lifetime, both performers delivered incredibly candid, emotional acceptance speeches about their personal struggles.
“I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer,” Madonna joked at the beginning of her speech. “Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.” She continued from there, recounting all of the obstacles she’s faced in her career and lambasting the sexist double standards applied to women in music. “But to the doubters and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not, that I would not or I must not,” she concluded, “your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am today. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you.”
In her speech, Kesha addressed her experiences with anxiety and an eating disorder in addition to the hardships of the past year. “Finding the strength to come forward about these things is not easy but maybe by me standing up here and telling my story, I can help somebody else who’s going through something tough,” she said. “I know it’s scary, but once you take the first steps to help yourself, you’ll completely change in the best of ways.”
@Madonna your speech at the Billboard Music Awards was inspiring. You're so brave & strong. Thanks for being that for us girls we need that.
— xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) December 12, 2016