The 60th Annual Grammy Awards took place Sunday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City and several artists delivered powerful statements about sexual harassment, immigration, and the overall state of America. Throughout the night, the LGBTQ community was well-represented on stage and among the winners, writes Jeremy Blacklow, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Media.
One of the night’s most powerful moments took place midway through the broadcast when Kesha, who was up for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance (and who also identifies as bisexual) took the stage alongside Julia Michaels, Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Camila Cabello, and Bebe Rexha, for an emotional performance of her single “Praying.” The Grammy-nominated song is widely considered to be about her ongoing sexual harassment accusations against producer Dr. Luke. Janelle Monae gave a moving speech about the Time’s Up movement before introducing the performance.
Out songwriter and GLAAD board member Justin Tranter, who was nominated for Song of the Year for “Issues” with his songwriting partner Julia Michaels, wore the GLAAD ampersand pin on the Grammys red carpet, which represents the Together Movement, a symbol of solidarity with other marginalized communities. Justin, along with many other celebs, also wore white roses in support of the Time’s Up movement.
Earlier in the evening, Lady Gaga shouted out the Time’s Up movement in-between her ballad performances of “Joanne” and “Million Reasons.”
Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a high-energy politically-charged performance of “XXX” which riled up the crowd.
“America, God bless you if it’s good to you… Donald Trump’s in office, we lost Barack / And promised to never doubt him again / But is America honest or do we bask in sin?” he rapped. He was later joined by U2 for a performance of their collaboration, “American Soul.”
Later in the broadcast, U2 performed their ode to immigrants, “Get Out of Your Own Way,” on a barge on the Hudson River in front of the Statue of Liberty. Camila Cabello introduced the band with a touching speech about her roots as a “proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant.”
Beyond Kesha and Lady Gaga, several LGBTQ performers graced the Grammys stage. Midway through the show, gay singing legend Elton John performed his hit song “Tiny Dancer,” accompanied by Miley Cyrus. Out performer Sam Smith performed his new song “Pray” earlier on in the broadcast.