At Sunday night's Grammys, Brooke Axtell, a survivor of domestic abuse, performed an extremely powerful written-word piece about her experience. "Authentic love does not devalue another human being," she said as a hush settled over the crowd. "Authentic love does not silence shame and abuse."
Unlike the other artists taking the Grammys stage, an awards show performance is new for Axtell, who is "the Director of Communications and Engagement for Allies Against Slavery, a non-profit devoted to ending human trafficking. She also founded Survivor Healing and Empowerment (S.H.E.), a healing community for survivors of rape, abuse and sex-trafficking."
After Axtell's emotional performance, Katy Perry took the stage to perform the touching ballad 'By the Grace of God,' during which she seemed to be holding back tears.
"It's an honor to collaborate with Katy in this way. She has been very devoted to various aspects of female empowerment," Axtell, 34, told People. "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," she explained.
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Axtell shared her harrowing story with KEYE TV. "I was trafficked by my nanny in Dallas, Texas when I was seven years old during a time when my mom was hospitalized and he was entrusted with my care," Axtell said.
Though this might be the first viewers are hearing of Axtell, Heavy.com reports that she is an accomplished poet and performer.
"She's the Winner of the Phyllis Smart Young Prize for Poetry and has a critically acclaimed book called 'Kore of the Incantation.' Her last book of poetry, 'Daughter of the Burning,' was a finalist for The Violet Crown Award by the Writer's League of Texas," the site explains.
Axtell's moving piece was preceded by a message from President Obama. "The public service announcement represents the latest installment in the White House's ongoing "It's On Us," campaign, which aims to end sexual assaults on college campuses. The administration began the effort in September, with the support of major college sports leagues and prominent celebrities," The Washington Post reports.
Click this link to learn more about 'It's On Us.'
Learn more about Brooke here.
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