The Grammys: Not Just Awards

I dedicated close to four hours of my night last night to watch the Grammy Awards.

My friends and I (yes I have friends…surprise) gathered around the TV, commenting on each performance, guest appearance and of course, Rihanna’s dress.

However, through the intense dedication and uninterrupted viewing, I didn’t notice the reoccurring, underlying political message prevalent in a few performances.

As everyone knows, following the Michael Brown shooting, the cause “Black Lives Matter” has been seen on Twitter, Facebook and all over the news.

“Hands up, don’t shoot!” became not only Michael Brown’s last summarized plea to shooter, Darren Wilson, but now also a symbol for the Black Lives Matter cause.

This political theme bled through some “innocent” performances at the Grammys.

First Pharrell, before performing “Happy,” claimed that this version would be a little different.

As “Happy” is one of my favorite songs, I prepared myself to “bop around” on the couch. Maybe “a little different” meant an acoustic version or something? However, I was surprised when this version of the song was dark. A song with minor-ified chords and dark lighting is not what I would entitle “Happy” at all.

Pharrell ended his song, joining his backup dancers with their hands up in surrender.

“Hands up, don’t shoot!”

Of course, I didn’t even recognize this. I only commented to my friends, “well that was dark and scary,” and grabbed a handful of popcorn (no butter…it was gross).

Next Prince got up to present the Album of the Year Award (Beck won). In his introduction however, he slid in the statement, “Like books and black lives, albums still matter.”

“Hands up, don’t shoot!”

Ok, yea I still didn’t recognize the political message.

Then finally, what everyone was waiting for, Queen Bee got up to perform. Yet, instead of performing a song from her recent album, she changed it up and sang the gospel song, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”

The audience, viewers and my apartment followed said performance with admiration and praise, as Beyonce usually receives. However, her performance again, ended with her backup singers holding their hands up in surrender.

“Hands up, don’t shoot!”

Her motives behind singing an innocent gospel song are consequently questioned.

Again, didn’t notice this either.

The one thing I did notice, was when John Legend and Common specifically sang a song about the movement from the Martin Luther King movie,”Selma.”

So was the Grammy Awards just an opportunity for Sam Smith to win four of the top awards? Or a voice for something more?

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