Who run the world? Tonight (and most nights), that would be Michelle Obama, who made a surprise appearance at the Grammys alongside a group of powerful women.
Host Alicia Keys and Obama were joined by Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez, who deviated from the traditional mean-spirited joking opener typical of awards shows and spoke about the power of music instead.
When it was Obama’s turn to speak, she could hardly get a word in before the theater erupted with thunderous applause. Once she was able to speak, she talked about how music has helped her share her story.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the ‘who run the world’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here,” she told the crowd.
“Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves,” she continued. “Our dignity and its sorrows, our hopes and joys, it allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters. Every story within every voice, every note within every song. Is that right, ladies?”
Obama tweeted about the experience afterward: “A big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—that’s why I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!”
Showed up for her girls (and the rest of America), she did.
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