Kesha tells Philadelphia crowd: We can control who we give ‘f—ing weapons to’
PHILADELPHIA — Kesha used her headlining role at an event thrown by Americans for Responsible Solutions to call for greater gun control measures.
Tuesday night’s concert had some considerable star power and remained one of the most buzzed-about events in the first days of the Democratic National Convention.
Even Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who recently stepped down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, appeared in the VIP area with about a half-dozen staffers.
Only hours after she had emceed the official speeches at the Democratic National Convention, director and actress Elizabeth Banks appeared on stage at the Theatre of Living Arts in a red cocktail dress to introduce Kesha.
“Who knew the hottest party [in Philadelphia] was about gun sense?” she said. “That definitely wasn’t happening [at the Republican National Convention] in Cleveland.”
Two songs into her four-song set, Kesha announced that she felt like she “needed to say something.”
The “Tik Tok” singer talked about going through tough situations and feeling hurt, touching vaguely on her own lawsuit with former producer Dr. Luke without calling him out by name.
“We as a nation, we can’t control who feels hurt, we can’t control who feels pain,” she said.
“You can’t control every single person and know how they’re going to deal with things and know if they’re going to pick up a weapon — you don’t know that,” she continued. “But what we can control is who we give the f—ing weapons to.”
The crowd cheered loudly.
“I think the universe is screaming at us that there needs to be a change, and we have to f—ing listen,” Kesha said, adding that she hoped that “love could heal us” before launching into a song called “Dirty Love.”
“Love trumps hate,” someone in the crowd shouted back.
The event began at 10 p.m., with an open bar and a DJ spinning Top 40 tunes.
Alabama-based band Drive By Truckers played first, and Kesha began performing around 1:15 a.m.
Americans for Responsible Solutions, a super-PAC and advocacy organization focused on gun violence prevention, was created by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.
Giffords, who will be speaking on the convention stage Wednesday night, also addressed the crowd.
“Stopping gun violence takes courage,” she said. “The courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas.”
“I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together and be responsible: Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting.”
The former Arizona congresswoman was shot at a constituent event in her district and suffered a severe brain injury from her wounds.
Kelly said that the effort is aimed at creating a “vocal majority” to push for action on gun control.
Congress has failed to act on any kind of gun measures over the last few years, despite pressure from Democrats.
Kelly urged those in the crowd to vote on gun issues and elect Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Elections matter,” said Kelly, a space shuttle commander. “They really do.”
Every year, he said, 33,000 die from gun violence. Another 100,000 are shot, Kelly said.
“We have smart people in our country that can solve some very difficult problems — shit, we sent people to the moon in the 1960s — we can fix this.”
The concert is part of a slate of events held by Americans for Responsible Solutions during the Democratic National Convention. Earlier Tuesday, the group had held a discussion with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who led a Senate filibuster to force a vote on gun control after the shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. House Democrats staged a sit-in to draw attention to the issue after the massacre.
Americans for Responsible Solutions had also held a rally in Philadelphia with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other leaders on Tuesday morning “calling on leaders in Washington to act to keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives.”
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