Michelle Obama Stole the Show at the GRAMMYs

She may not have been nominated for any awards, but her surprise appearance—and important message on sisterhood—was a real winner

Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez at the 61st GRAMMY Awards

(Photo: Getty Images)

Who run the world? Michelle Obama.

The former first lady surprised fans and lit up Twitter with an unexpected appearance at the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards. Kicking off the show, Obama joined host Alicia Keys onstage alongside Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith and Lady Gaga as our new favourite girl gang recounted why music is important to them.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the south side to the who-run-the-world songs that fuelled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said. “And I know that’s true for everybody here, whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity, our sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite one another in. Music shows us that all of it matters, every story, every voice, every note, in every song. Is that right, ladies?”

Um, heck ya it is. Particularly because this year’s GRAMMY Awards promised to not only be music’s biggest night, but a massive night for women in the industry. In recent years the GRAMMY Awards have come under fire for its lack of gender representation. The 2018 show, which was rightfully criticized for lacking female performers and only awarding two women  GRAMMYs during the live telecast, garnered the #GrammySoMale hashtag calling for changes.

In response, the Recording Academy’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion worked towards expanding opportunities for women within the music industry. On February 1, backed by celebs like Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams and Justin Bieber (along with 200 other signatories), the task force announced the Producer and Engineer Inclusion Initiative asks that musicians and record labels consider at least two female producers or engineers when working on a project, whether it’s a song or an album.

While Obama isn’t exactly *in* the music industry, she has long been a champion for women’s rights, equality and inclusion. So even though she wasn’t nominated for GRAMMYs, having her open the show seemed fitting on what was promised  to be a turning point for women in the industry. And as per usual, the former first lady was incredibly inspiring and *definitely* stole the show. Literally, as soon as Obama stepped foot on stage, social media users were SHOOK (as were the boys from BTS).

As if her presence wasn’t gift enough, Obama took to the ‘gram after her GRAMMY appearance to celebrate the night, and more importantly #sisterhood. She shared a pic of herself alongside Lopez, Pinkett Smith, Gaga and Keys, and wrote: “For me, a big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—whether that’s for a birthday, a quick catch-up after work, or a major milestone. So I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine, caring, and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!”

She may not be a musical artist, but that’s a message that sings.


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