Politics Take Center-Stage at the Grammy Awards

By: Meghan Malas

This past February 12, the highly anticipated Grammy Awards dominated the attention of evening viewers. Plenty of popular artists like Beyonce, Adele, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Chance the Rapper performed their hits from the past year, as well as covers from other musicians. Subtle political themes appeared, as artists like Katy Perry and Beyonce promoted messages of unity and strength, and Jennifer Lopez declared: “There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence and no room for fear. We do language. That is how civilizations heal. So tonight, we celebrate our most universal language, music, as we honor the voices of the past and the present” (NBC News).

The tip-toeing around the mention of the controversy surrounding the new administration continued until famed rap group, A Tribe Called Quest, began their performance. The group, consisting of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White, along with independent artists Consequence, Anderson.Paak and Busta Rhymes, dedicated their performance to Phife Dawg, a former member of A Tribe Called Quest that passed this year. Busta Rhymes announced, “I’m not feeling the political climate right now. I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban. When we come together — we the people!” during the performance of “We the People,” a song on the group’s latest album. Q-Tip held the hand of a young hijab-wearing Muslim girl as a diverse crowd of people joined the stage. They all held protest signs which directly addressed President Trump’s Muslim ban. The artists concluded their performance, fists high, and chanting a single word: “Resist! Resist! Resist!” After the appearance, social media exploded with commentary about the controversial messages delivered at the awards show, and the artists themselves. Debate of whether the music award platform was appropriate for such discourse persists.

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