Archived: #BlackLivesMatter Takes Center Stage at Grammys

By Sheryl Estrada


Chart-topping performers incorporated tributes to the #BlackLivesMatter movement during the 57th Grammy Awards on Sunday.

Pharrell Williams and his backup dancers, who wore black hoodies, held up their hands for a moment during a performance of his Grammy Award-winning song, “Happy.” The well-known “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture has been used during recent protests in response to the killings of unarmed Black males Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police officers. Hoodies are symbolic of slain Florida teenTrayvon Martin.

Williams won a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Happy (Live),” as well as awards for Best Music Video and Best Urban Contemporary Album.

During Beyonc’s performance of the gospel song “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” from the film Selma, the members of the all-male choir behind her also raised their hands. (In the film, soul singer Ledisi, who plays gospel singerMahalia Jackson, sings the song.) On Sunday, Beyonc received Grammys for Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song and Best Surround Sound Album.

Stevie Wonder,who performed withUsher,has been referring to Brown andGarner in his recent performances.

“We must come together and fix all of this that’s wrong,” he offered Sunday.

Prince also made a statement. While presenting the Album of the Year award, he said, “Like books and Black lives, albums still matter.”

Perhaps all of these musicians took to heart a prerecorded announcement from President Obama in which he said, “Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters. And all of us have the power to set an example.”

President Obama was specifically addressing domestic violence, but the Black artists above very publicly put their names behind another message.

Viewers responded to the performances on Twitter:

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