Grammys 2017: 7 Political Moments
James Corden’s mild dig at President Donald Trump during his rapped opening monologue at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards – “Live it on up, because this is the best/And with President Trump, we don’t know what comes next” – seemed like a hint that the 59th annual ceremony would be shot through with political sentiment from all sides. But only a handful of the artists and boldface names performing and presenting took the opportunity to make their ideologies known.
1. Busta Rhymes calls out “Agent Orange.”
Hip-hop stalwarts A Tribe Called Quest, who performed with Best New Artist nominee Anderson Paak as well as fellow MCs Busta Rhymes and Consequence, had the most outwardly political performance of the night, a boisterous, feisty medley that paid tribute to deceased member Phife Dawg. Before the fiery We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service track “We The People,” Busta declared, “I’m not feeling the political climate right now,” then derisively thanked “President Agent Orange” “perpetuating all the evil [he’s] been perpetuating throughout the United States” and for flubbing the ban on refugees from majority-Muslim nations. As the song tumbled to a close, the group was joined by a slew of people seemingly representing the entire world. “[The people who joined Tribe onstage] are supposed to represent all the people that are other,” a rep for the hip-hop collective told Rolling Stone.
2. Jennifer Lopez sets a woke tone.
When she took the stage to announce the nominees for the night’s first award, for Best New Artist, Lopez threw in a brief, solemn and obviously Trump-targeting aside: “At this particular point in history, our voices are needed more than ever.”
3. Katy Perry stands in solidarity with Elizabeth Warren.
Katy Perry’s premiere performance of her pointed new single “Chained to the Rhythm” was accompanied by a more subtle dig. The right sleeve of her white blazer was encircled by a “PERSIST” armband, a reference to the way Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shut down Elizabeth Warren during new Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ heated confirmation debate…