The Grammy Awards are a celebration of music and the artists who perform it, but those who took center stage during last night’s show used their platform to preach their politics.
Here are some of the highlights from the 2018 Grammy Awards:
Kendrick Lamar, U2, and Dave Chappelle’s opening performance:
Kendrick Lamar, U2, and comedian Dave Chappelle kicked off the Grammy Awards with a politically charged performance. With the American flag flying behind him and his backup dancers wearing military-like costumes, Lamar began rapping his song, “XXX.”
The lyrics read, in part:
America, God bless you if it’s good to you. America, please take my hand. Can you help me underst…? […]
It’s not a place, this country is to me a sound of drum and bass. You close your eyes to look around […]
Hail Mary, Jesus and Joseph… The great American flag is wrapped and dragged with explosives. Compulsive disorder, sons and daughters. Barricaded blocks and borders. Look what you taught us. It’s murder on my street, your street, back streets, Wall Street, corporate offices, banks, employees and bosses with homicidal thoughts. 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? Pass the gin, I mix it with American blood, then bash him in, you crippin’ or you married to blood? I’ll ask again—oops—accident. It’s nasty when you set us up, then roll the dice, then bet us up. You overnight the big rifles, then tell Fox to be scared of us. Gang members or terrorists, et cetera, et cetera. Americas reflections of me That’s what a mirror does
It’s not a place, this country is to be a sound of drum and bass. You close your eyes to look ar…
Chappelle then chimed in by saying:
“I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America.”
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah presenting Best Comedy Album:
Noah took the stage after Bruno Mars and Cardi B performed their song, “Finesse.” He said:
“Bruno Mars and Cardi B, that was amazing, wow. I love that song, man. Like, I love that song. It takes me back, you know, like way back to when Trump wasn’t president,” before alerting Jay-Z that Trump had a message for him on Twitter.
Camila Cabello discussing the need for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy:
The 20-year-old singer took the Grammy Awards’ stage to say:
“Today, in this room full of music’s dreamers, we remember that this country was built by dreamers, for dreamers, chasing the American dream. I’m here on this stage tonight because, just like the dreamers, my parents brought me to this country with nothing in their pockets but hope. They showed me what it means to work twice as hard and never give up. And honestly, no part of my journey is any different from theirs. I’m a proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant, born in Eastern Havana, standing in front of you on the Grammy stage in New York City, and all I know is, just like dreams, these kids can’t be forgotten and are worth fighting for.”
Cabello followed her speech by introducing the band U2. As the band began playing on the Hudson River with Lady Liberty standing behind them, Cabello read the words of Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Host James Corden finding someone to voice the audiobook version of “Fire and Fury”:
Corden said Best Spoken Word Album would include Donald Trump next year. The clip that followed then showed the music world’s biggest stars reading excerpts from the tell-all book, “Fire and Fury,” before Hillary Clinton made her own, short cameo:
Clinton’s cameo solicited one of the Grammy Awards’ biggest rounds of applause.
Comedienne Sarah Silverman and football player Victor Cruz:
Silverman joked on stage that she and Cruz were there to encourage Americans to vote. When Cruz responded to Silverman by saying that wasn’t true, she then said:
“Do what you want to do, the world is basically over anyway.”
Kendrick Lamar’s acceptance speech after winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album:
Lamar yelled “Jay for President” at the end of his speech, referencing the beef between veteran rapper Jay-Z and the current president of the United States.
Janelle Monae introducing Kesha:
Before Kesha gave an incredibly emotional performance following her widely-publicized legal battle against producer Dr. Luke, whom she claims “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused [her] to the point where [she] nearly lost her life,” fellow singer, Monae, took the stage to introduce her:
“Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist but a young woman with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry. Artists, writers, assistants, publicists, CEOs, producers, engineers, and women from all sectors of the business. We are also daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and human beings.
We come in peace, but we mean business.
And to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up. We say time’s up for pay inequality, time’s up for discrimination, time’s up for harassment of any kind, and time’s up for the abuse of power.
Because you see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington — it’s right here in our industry as well. And just as we have the power to shake culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well.
So let’s work together, women and men, as a united music industry, committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay, and access for all women.”
Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid’s performance of “1-800-273-8255”:
At the end of their Grammy Awards’ performance, Logic took a minute to give an impassioned speech— and received a standing ovation for it:
“Black is beautiful, hate is ugly. Women are as precious as they are stronger than any man I have ever met. And unto them, I say stand tall and crush all predators under the weight of your heart that is full of the love they will never take away from you. Be not scared to use your voice! Especially in instances like these when you have the opportunity! Stand and fight for those who are not weak, but have yet to discover the strength that the evil of this world has done its best to conceal.
To all the beautiful countries filled with culture, diversity and thousands of years of history: You are beautiful.
And lastly, on behalf of those who fight for equality in a world that is not equal, not just and not ready for the change we are here to bring: I say unto you, bring us your tired, your poor, and any immigrant who seeks refuge. For together we can build not just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united.”
What a night.