By Katie Cole
On Sun., Jan. 28, hundreds of famous celebrities, musicians, actors, and singers of all decades gathered together to celebrate “music’s biggest night.” The 60th Grammy awards took place in Madison Square Garden in New York City and had more to offer than just music. With nearly 20 live performances, a dozen moving speeches, and several political movements, the show is being called “a night of protest” as Deadline News put it.
The show kicked off with a politically powerful performance of “XXX” by Kendrick Lamar in collaboration with U2. The collaboration was followed by the stage being turned over to just Lamar who then performed “DNA.” At first the singers were accompanied by men with soldiers’ uniforms alongside the American flag, and then ended with dancers in red hoodies with the sound of gunshots, which was symbolic of police violence. To close Lamar’s performance, comedian and Grammy winner Dave Chappelle gave a speech about racism in the U.S. The entire opening performance sent a very powerful message. Lamar went on to win four Grammys later that night.
Another emotional and moving performance was Kesha singing her comeback song “Praying” alongside Bebe Rexha, Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Andra Day, and other women. Kesha showed her support for the #MeToo movement as her and her companions dressed in all white and sang Kesha’s personal and intimate single about Kesha’s ex-producer and mentor, Dr. Luke Gottwald, who verbally and sexually abused her. When it was over, Kesha burst into tears and hugged the women with her. The performance was so moving that James Corden, who hosted the show, had to take a moment before announcing the next award.
Another entertaining and highly political performance was by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. The three sang their extremely powerful and touching single “1-800-273-8255” named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. During the song, several men and women stood behind the trio of performers wearing shirts that read “You are not alone.” Although the performance was amazing, it was Logic’s speech that was most memorable and started off straight to the point with “Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly.” Logic then went on to say how women are strong and can crush any predator coming their way. This part was extremely relevant because of the #MeToo movement that took over 2017 and continued over into the new year, but also because of the sexual misconduct charges against Larry Nassar, the former Olympic gymnastics team doctor. Logic then took a jab at president Trump saying “To all the beautiful countries filled with culture, diversity, and thousands of years of history, you are not s***holes!”
Logic wasn’t the only one who stood up to the president. Camila Cabello took the stage shortly before U2 performed in front of the Statue of Liberty. She delivered a passionate and inspiring speech about a frequently debated topic: immigration. In her speech, she talked about DACA and other Dreamers, like herself. Cabello proudly announced she was a Cuban-Mexican immigrant and then went on to say “These kids [Dreamers] cannot be forgotten and are worth fighting for,” amongst loud cheers and applause.
Many of the Grammy moments were positive and uplifting, and when country stars Maren Morris, Eric Church, and the duo Brothers Osborne joined together to give a powerful and emotional tribute to the Las Vegas shooting victims, the vibe across the theater took an breathtaking and spiritual turn. The four musicians had been in Las Vegas shortly before the shooting. It happened in the middle of their fellow country star, Jason Aldean’s performance. The shooting occurred nearly four months ago on Oct. 1, 2017 and it was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history where 58 people were killed. The four country musicians sang “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton in front of a screen with the victim’s names on it. Morris explained that she wanted to “come together and honor the memory of the beautiful, music-loving souls so cruelly taken from us.”
The Grammys can be described as “music’s biggest night” but the 2018 Grammys had a lot more to offer. Bruno Mars may have won six awards, but there was a lot more to celebrate. People were able to come together despite their differences to sing, laugh, celebrate, and shed light on issues that are affecting this country everyday, even if Americans don’t realize it.