“Music is what we cry to, what we march to … what we make love to … It’s our shared global language,” said Alicia Keys, host of the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, during her opening remarks.
“And when you really want to say something, you say it with a song. Am I right?”
“This is a celebration.”
Then she proceeded to bring out Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, former first lady Michelle Obama — you read that right — and Jennifer Lopez.
“Music led me to all of you … and to my little monsters, who I love so much,” said Lady Gaga.
Said Jennifer Lopez, “Music … reminds me where I came from … Music is the one place where we can all feel truly free.”
“We express our pain, power and progress through music, ” said Jada Pinkett Smith. “Every voice we hear deserves to be honored and respected.”
Said Michelle Obama, interrupted frequently by applause, “From the Motown Records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘who run the world’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story … Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys … It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters … Is that right, ladies?”
.@MichelleObama makes a surprise appearance at the #GRAMMYs: "Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves: our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in" https://t.co/pEHw6h7hdE pic.twitter.com/AE9y2PG6Wy
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 11, 2019
"From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the 'Who Run the World' songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story." – @MichelleObama #GRAMMYs pic.twitter.com/dlCwXs1UaI
— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) February 11, 2019
“Tonight we celebrate the greatness in each other … through music,” said Keys.
The 15-time Grammy-winner is the show’s first female host in 14 years; this is the first year she’s ever hosted it.
At a press conference this past Thursday, Keys, 38, announced she wanted to make artists feel comfortable and not under stress during the show.
“You come to these things as an artist and you’re juggling so many things and there’s so much pressure on you,” she told reporters, as ABC News noted.
“I would love to just ensure the peace and the good energy in the room, so that we can all feel the true blessing: to be able to have the gift of music as our universal language.”
She also promised in advance, “This is a real moment. I think that the energy you’re gonna feel is gonna be far different than anything you’ve ever felt.”
Last year, politics predictably took center stage at the 2018 Grammy Awards multiple times — and that didn’t exactly win over viewers.
Ratings were down over 20 percent from the prior year, based on early reports.
Last year’s ceremony was the lowest rated Grammy show in several years.
The CBS broadcast last year brought in 19.8 million viewers, according to network officials, as Forbes reported. That was down around 24 percent, compared to the 2017 Grammy Awards, which had 26.1 million viewers.
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Also last year, rapper Jay-Z preached to the world about politics; he even managed to wave off a booming economy and tried to lecture regular Americans about their finances.
While a lively economy might not change Jay-Z’s life much, plenty of Americans who have more money in their paychecks and in their 401(k) accounts these days might feel a little differently than the rapper.
And the recent benefits to everyday Americans, including bonuses given out by some 250 companies, were not and are not “crumbs” — contrary to what now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) infamously declared last year.
In the fall of 2017, Alicia Keys joined many other celebrities in coming out for DACA kids. DACA, of course, stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; it’s the Obama-era program that allowed qualified recipients a temporary reprieve from deportation. The recipients are a subset of dreamers, which stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The illegal immigrants known as dreamers were brought to the country as children.
“All children should have a field of dreams to play in,” Keys captioned a photo she put on Twitter in 2017, showing her own children. “They should be safely wrapped in the security of the endless potential within them,” as Billboard reported at the time.
All Children should have a field of dreams to play in
They should be safely wrapped in the security of the endless potential within them pic.twitter.com/KqPblFjtvM
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) September 7, 2017
The singer went on, “They should be free to crawl through tunnels we use to find ourselves Without having to worry about the rescinding of their human rights.”
“Children should be able to color outside the lines, make a beautiful mess and create their own lives,” she also wrote, showing an image of artwork by her son, Genesis.
“They should be free to laugh and live without walls, borders, bans or repeals #DefendDACA #IStandWithTheDreamers #DACA #WeAreHere,” Keys also said.
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