Why everyone needs to see Katy Perry’s important Grammy performance

All eyes are going to be on Katy Perry during the Grammys, and this time the hoopla has absolutely nothing to do with back-up dancers dressed as sharks.

The pop singer, who we all know just last weekend gave a fabulous romp of a Super Bowl Halftime Show with Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and a whole bunch of dancers dressed as beach balls and palm trees, is due to deliver an entirely different kind of show at the Grammy Awards this Sunday. Her upcoming performance will be all about emotional resonance.

Here’s what is slated: While Perry sings her ballad “By the Grace of God,” she’ll be joined on stage by Brooke Axtell, a poet, songwriter, and domestic violence survivor. Axtell, who is an activist for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, will read aloud from a written word piece drawn from her own experiences as an advocate.

“It has been deeply interconnected to my recovery process to be very vocal,” Axtell told People. “There is still such a stigma about being transparent about this kind of struggle and survivors have nothing to be ashamed of. I believe that when we bring all our fear and shame into the light, that is when we find healing and freedom.”

“I don’t see myself as a victim,” Axtell said. “I see myself as a warrior for peace and healing. I’ve taken back my power and now I want to honor and elevate the voices of those who have been silenced by abuse.”

The collaboration came through Grammy producer Ken Erlich, who was inspired by a counsel meeting with White House officials. It truly is a remarkable opportunity to raise awareness.

Sadly, as we know, domestic violence is still a devastatingly prevalent issue in this country and around the world  — one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and still most domestic violences incidences are never reported.

“It is one thing to have Katy sing, but why would we not want to accompany it with someone’s personal experience who could humanize [domestic violence] and make it relatable to millions of men and women who are survivors,” Erlich said.

Giving the issue such a massive stage and having it come from one of the world’s biggest stars as well as a survivor cannot be understated. Awareness about the issue, and vocalization of the issue coming from a person so admired by a younger generation will hopefully make at least a few viewers and survivors feel less alone.

“It’s an honor to collaborate with Katy in this way,” Axtell told People. “She has been very devoted to various aspects of female empowerment. It’s going to bring a lot of encouragement and freedom to those who hear my story and know that they are not alone in this.”

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