The 29-year-old entertainer had tears in her eyes as the night’s honoree, Diane Warren, started to play the powerful tune on the piano.
After taking a few deep breaths, Kesha told the audience, “I want to dedicate this song to every man, woman, child [and] animal that has ever been abused.”
The Oscar-nominated track — which was cowritten by Gaga, 30, and Warren, 59 — was originally featured in the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground, which focuses on campus rape in the United States. The “Bad Romance” singer sang the touching song at the 2016 Academy Awards, where she urged viewers to “take the pledge” to end sexual assault.
Compelling clips of caged animals played on the screen behind Kesha on Saturday as she sang, “You tell me it gets better, it gets better in time.”
The “Die Young” performer received a standing ovation as she concluded the song before hugging Warren.
In February, Kesha was denied release from her Sony contract with Dr. Luke, the music producer that she claims sexually, physically and mentally abused her over a period of several years.
Following the court ruling, Dr. Luke’s attorneys told Us in a statement, “The New York County Supreme Court on Friday found that Kesha is already ‘free’ to record and release music without working with Dr. Luke as a producer if she doesn’t want to. Any claim that she isn’t ‘free’ is a myth.”
She recently teamed up with Zedd at Coachella, where the duo delivered a poignant performance of his hit “True Colors.” A studio mix of Kesha’s rendition was released at the end of April and will serve as the fourth single from the EDM producer’s album.
Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!