In a tribute fit for Black History Month, a handful of musicians took to the 57th annual Grammy Awards stage in a purposeful and powerful show of activism through music to get one important message across — black lives do, indeed, matter.
The shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Mo. — the catalyst for what is arguably the largest black liberation movement in recent years — and director Ava DuVernay’s Martin Luther King Jr., drama Selma were highlighted in several mentions, including a powerful performance from Pharrell Williams that utilized the now symbolic ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture used in demonstrations nationwide to protest police brutality.
The result was a dramatic, powerful, and nuanced rendition of Williams’ Grammy winning song “Happy” — a surprise to those critical of Williams’ previous take on Ferguson, where he called Brown’s behavior “bully-ish.”
And later, after an introduction from friend Gwyneth Paltrow, who noted “we live in complicated times,” Beyonce took to the stage in a rare performance to sing “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” from the Selma soundtrack.
After belting out the gospel great, she gave the stage to Common and John Legend, who performed their award-winning song, “Glory.”
But in a moment that nearly broke the internet, legendary singer Prince bypassed gestures and music to deliver the statement we all wanted to hear at the musical event. While presenting the award for Best Album, Prince simply and clearly stated:
“Albums — you remember those? They still matter. Like books and black lives, they still matter.”
Count on Prince to deliver the absolute truth.
Watch all of the powerful performances above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube