Grammys: Meet Brooke Axtell, the Domestic Violence Survivor Who Shared the Stage With Katy Perry

Brooke Axtell - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Brooke Axtell - H 2015

The Austin-based activist and performance artist is a survivor of human trafficking and domestic abuse.

Before Katy Perry took to the stage for an emotional performance of "By the Grace of God," activist and performance artist Brooke Axtell delivered a spoken-word piece on her experience with domestic violence. 

In an interview with Slate, the Austin-based activist talked about being trafficked by her nanny at age 7. As an adult, she was involved in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship in which her partner threatened to kill her. Axtell is now the director of communications for Allies Against Slavery, a nonprofit that fights human trafficking.

Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich personally asked Axtell to take part in the awards show alongside Perry. The Grammys stage has often been a platform for social issues. Last year, Queen Latifah married both gay and straight couples while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis along with Mary Lambert performed their hit song "Same Love."

A pretaped video from President Obama played before Axtell's and Perry's performances, where the commander in chief urged Grammy viewers to visit and sign a pledge to help end domestic violence and sexual assault.  

"Authentic love does not devalue another human being," said Axtell from the Grammy stage.