This year’s award season has set a very political tone especially with the rise of President Trump to power. The most controversial thus far was Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech during the Golden Globe Award for her Lifetime Achievement Award. She delivered a very strong message resisting Trump’s agenda and policies. She was not the only actress to have given a political statement that night. In fact, Streep has set the tone for how speeches were carved in the succeeding awards nights.
The biggest night for musicians, the Grammys, also became a platform for anti-Trump sentiments. It has become almost entirely a show that called out Donald Trump for his policies and behavior. The collective voices of these huge stars had a strong impact that will most likely continue with more awards nights moving forward. Here are 8 of the strongest anti-Trump sentiments that were given by artists during the awards nights.
8. Busta Rhymes called Trump “Agent Orange.”
Of all the anti-Trump sentiments that night, this was perhaps the one that hit the hardest. Hip-hop artists A Tribe Called Quest performed with Anderson Paak, Busta Rhymes and Consequence. Other artists were somewhat subtle in calling out Trump and in their expression of anger towards him. The group was never subtle. They had a feisty medley that started with a tribute to a deceased member. Then, in the middle of their performance, Busta said, “I’m not feeling the political climate right now.” He then referred to Trump as “President Agent Orange.” He added that he has perpetrated evil throughout the US. He also called out Trump for his treatment of the refugees. Towards the end of their performance, they were joined on stage by lots of people, perhaps, a representation of people coming together and of unity amid diversity.
7. Jennifer Lopez started the night with a strong message urging action.
Jennifer Lopez has never shied when it comes to political comments. In fact, she has made several before. This could also be attributed to the fact that she is a Latina. During the 59th Grammys, she took the stage to announce the nominees for the Best New Artist Award. She then gave a strong message in contrast to the kind of message that Trump has been giving. She said that “At this particular point in history, our voices are needed more than ever.” Indeed, throughout the night, resistant voices became louder and louder.
6. Katy Perry stands with Elizabeth Warren.
Katy Perry’s political inclination is not hidden from public view. She was the biggest star to have consistently campaigned with Hillary Clinton even during the primaries. She even wore a costume that says, “I am with Madam President” in one of her final performances leading to the elections. Unfortunately, despite the big stars that rallied in favor of Clinton, she still lost the election. It didn’t mean that Perry won’t ever be involved in politics again. In fact, she has continued to criticize Trump as his administration begins. During the Grammys, she wore a white blazer with the word PERSIST on the right sleeve. This was in reference to the #ShePersisted that became viral after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to shut Sen. Elizabeth Warren up during the confirmation debate for Jeff Sessions as attorney general. McConnell said, she was warned, but still, she persisted. Since then, a lot of people stood in favor of Warren, and Kerry continued it until the Grammys.
5. Paris Jackson calls for action to help the pipeline protestors.
Despite having only a very short time on stage, Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, used her time to ask people to help those who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. She said, “We could really use this excitement at a pipeline protest, you guys.” The Indian tribe in North Dakota has been protesting the pipeline for several months now. Then President Obama halted the plan only to be reversed by Trump after taking office. The fight continues and Paris Jackson wants you to join the battle.
4. Laverne Cox raised awareness regarding trans-rights.
Actress Laverne Cox was tasked to present the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Metallica. Before calling the performers, she asked the audience to know more about Gavin Grimm. The case of Grimm will be heard by the Supreme Court next month. This is in regards to the use of bathrooms that corresponds to sexual orientation. As a transgender, Cox has been very vocal in raising awareness on transgender rights.
3. Neil Portnow calls for unity.
During his annual speech, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Neil Portnow, included a snippet from “America the Beautiful” on trumpet. He then mentioned the ability of music to unite people. He reminded people of what binds us together and be united more than ever. He also took the chance to lobby to the president and the congress in order for them to work with the music business to promote initiatives to help the industry’s bottom line. His heartfelt message was strong but not in an angry way.
2. Beyoncé made a stunning acceptance speech.
Her entire Lemonade album alone was already a political statement. Thus, when Beyoncé took the stage to receive her Best Urban Contemporary Award, she did not hesitate to express the political undertones of her music. She further mentioned, “My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history; to confront issues that make us uncomfortable.” The more powerful part of her message was when she said “It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror – first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys – and see themselves, and have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race, and I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.” People were on their feet after she finished her speech. She might not have gone home with the top award that night, but her political album will always be recognized.
1. James Corden hosted the show with a few Trump hits.
James Corden has never shied from targeting Trump even on his late night show. It was no surprise that he took the Grammy stage as an opportunity to sting Trump even further. He was still comedic though. During his opening monologue, he rapped “live it on up because this is the best, and with President Trump we don’t know what comes next.” Later during the show, he said that negative tweets about his Grammys performance were fake news. This was obviously in reference to Trump’s treatment of the media.
It is great to see artists coming together to send a strong message of resistance against the policies and agenda of the Trump administration. Some people might dismiss them as highly liberal as is Hollywood. However, they have simply made use of the opportunity and platform that they have to ask people to support the causes they are most passionate of. After all, they are artists. They express their happiness, anger, and frustration through their music. The Grammy stage is the perfect avenue for them to reach out to their fans and let them know what causes they would like to champion.