Politics at The Grammys

Jordan Barish, Staff Writer

On Sunday, January 28th, the 60th annual Grammy Awards were held in New York City at Madison Square Garden. For a night that is meant to be centered around music, many of the performances and speeches were political. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the entertainment industry has been fairly politically charged, especially in the last few months. The Grammy’s was no different, with artists working politics into the way they staged performances or what they wore.

The show opened with a performance by Kendrick Lamar. He performed a medley of songs surrounded by a faceless army with an American flag hanging in the background. His medley concluded with the dancers collapsing to the ground as gunshots rang out. Kendrick has long been known for his ability to spread a message with his lyrics, and this performance proved this capability. Comedian Dave Chappelle, who accompanied Lamar with spoken-word, told the audience, “the only thing more frightening than watching a black man being honest in America, is being an honest black man in America.”

After being prefaced with a speech by Janelle Monáe about harassment in the workplace, Kesha made a powerful proclamation with her performance of “Praying.” She dedicated the song to the #MeToo movement, which gained a following on social media. It demonstrates the extent of sexual assault and abuse in society. Other artists such as Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Cyndi Lauper, and the Resistance Revival Chorus accompanied her in an emotional performance that left many audience members in tears.

The Times Up Movement was also a prominent figure at the Grammys. Times Up was founded in the beginning of 2018 in response to the Hollywood sex scandals. In order to show support and solidarity for the movement, artists wore pins that said “Times Up” and held (or wore) white roses. Lady Gaga also referenced the movement after performing her song “Joanne” which is a tribute to her aunt who died of Lupus in 1974.

Before presenting the last award of the night (Album of the Year, won by Bruno Mars), Logic performed his song “1-800-273-8255” with Alessia Cara and Khalid. He used his stage time to defend the countries that President Trump called “s***holes” earlier in January. He said, “To all the beautiful countries filled with culture, diversity, and thousands of years of history: You are beautiful.”

Overall, the Grammys was full of creative performances. The show was used as a platform not just for sharing music and artistry, but also for spreading political ideologies to millions of people.

For a full list of winners at the Grammys, visit: https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2018-grammy-awards-complete-winners-list