It seems like no award show can go down this season without some heated political statements, and the 2017 GRAMMY Awards were no exception. From the moment the red carpet was rolled out for “music’s biggest night,” celebs used it as a welcome mat to share political views on both sides of the divide.
Ahead of the big night, GRAMMY producer Ken Ehrlich told multiple media outlets that he would welcome political statements in place of traditional acceptance speeches. “I’ve always felt that the Grammys reflect more than just what happened in music—and that people watch the show because they believe that they’re going to get more than just a nice splashy concert with a bunch of awards. So, why not give them that?,” Ehrlich told Yahoo Music.
With that open invite, numerous artists showed up for the 59th annual award show with something to say—and their messages were rarely subtle. At home, viewers took to Twitter to share both passionate approval and vehement rage at all of the major statements made.
In case you missed it, here are some of the night’s biggest moments that had nothing to do with music and everything to do with the current U.S. political climate:
Joy Villa Makes the Red Carpet Great/Hate Again
If you had never heard of Joy Villa before last night, chances are you’ve now heard her name—or at least seen her dress. The singer—who according to her Twitter bio, considers herself a feminist—showed up to GRAMMYs red carpet with a statement dress, designed by Andre Soriano, that literally spelled out her political message—and it wasn’t what many were expecting.
— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) February 13, 2017
While many on Twitter criticized the singer’s views, numerous others applauded her choice and invested in her music as a result. According to Amazon, sales of Villa’s album skyrocketed more than 54,000,000 percent due to all the buzz.
@Joy_Villa Great job coming out with an honest political opinion. Very brave, and we stand behind you. You just earned another fan
— Joshua B. Kleckner (@JoshuaKleckner) February 13, 2017
James Corden’s Opens With Some Choice Words
While some may have expected host James Corden to roll up to the award show with a few of his fave celebs in the car, he instead opted for a cringeworthy entrance full of planned technical difficulties (which foreshadowed the very real technical difficulties that would later plague performances such as Lady Gaga and Metallica). After rolling down a set of gold stairs, Corden sent his backup dancers off the stage, took the mic and delivered his opening monologue as a rap, name-dropping some of the night’s biggest acts. But Corden being Corden couldn’t help but sneak a Trump mild dig in there as well saying, “Live it all up because this is the best and with President Trump, we don’t know what comes next”
Fun drinking game: take a shot every time a celebrity talks negative about Trump
*dead halfway through James Corden’s opening monologue*
— Cameron Hood (@cameronhood84) February 12, 2017
Laverne Cox’s Gender-Neutral Intro
Absolute queen Laverne Cox took to the stage to introduce Metallica and Lady Gaga’s collab performance, but used the platform instead to put the spotlight on the case of Gavin Grimm, a young transgender man from Virginia who is fighting for the right to use the men’s washroom at his high school. Grimm’s case is headed to the Supreme Court in March, and by Cox simply telling the crowd to Google his name, it has now gained international attention. Following her plug for Grimm’s case, Cox got down to business introducing one of the most highly anticipated performances of the night, adding a few choice words to the traditional intro:
“Ladies and gentlemen, and all my gender nonbinary people out there” –@Lavernecox, my queen, my hero, a legend, a true blessing
— erica (@AVOCADUN_) February 13, 2017
Unfortunately, while she made her speech more inclusive, she also failed to introduce Metallica in her opener. She has since apologized for the omission.
Beyoncé’s Acceptance Speech
Right after debuting her growing baby bump with a nine-minute, motherhood-themed performance, Beyoncé was brought back to the stage to accept the award for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and the queen came prepared with a message for her loyal subjects. Reading from a gold envelope, Bey used her time at the mic to reveal the true meaning behind Lemonade. “It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House, and the GRAMMYs, and see themselves, and have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent, and capable.” She continued, “This is something I want for every child of every race.”
— Claudia Vero Farfan (@YuquitaenCO) February 13, 2017
I am crying. My bey. I cannot breathe
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 13, 2017
Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm” Performance
Katy Perry doesn’t need fireworks for an explosive performance. The singer showed up to the GRAMMYs with a new blonde locks and a message of empowerment for women. Perry performed her new hit “Chained to the Rhythm,” wearing a white Tom Ford pantsuit with a sparkly pink resistance armband that spelled out “PERSIST” and a Planned Parenthood pin on her lapel. In case the song’s message about dangers of living in a comfortable little bubble were too subtle, Perry and Skip Marley wrapped their act by projecting the American constitution onto the white picket fenced-house on which they were performing, emphasizing the phrase “We the people.”
— Ryan Carey-Mahoney (@thegoodcarmah) February 13, 2017
A Tribe Called Quest’s Collab Performance
While some of the tributes, speeches and performances opted only to hint at their political stance, A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes put their message front and center. Taking the stage near the end of the show, the crew of performers, which also included Consequence and Anderson .Paak, literally busted through a fake wall holding the hand of a woman wearing a hijab and filled the aisle of the Staples Center with people of all faiths and races. “I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban. When we come together, we the people!” sang Busta, while “No Wall No Ban” protest signs and passport photos appeared in the background. The collab crew ended the performance with the same message as numerous other anti-Trump groups, raising their fists in the air and saying “Resist!”
Tribe Called Quest makes the strongest and most fearless political statement of the night
— Ben Sisario (@sisario) February 13, 2017
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