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Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night. She was welcomed onstage by host Alicia Keys and joined Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez for an empowering opening address to the crowd.
As Obama took the microphone in a silver sequined outfit from Sachin & Babi, the audience erupted into applause before she was able to continue.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” she said. “Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes, our joys. Music shows us that all of it matters.”
Beside Obama onstage, Gaga contributed her thoughts on the power of music: “They said I was weird, but music led me to all of you and to my little monsters, who I love so much.”
Lopez jumped in with, “Back in the Bronx, music gave me a reason to dance.”
Added Pinkett Smith, “Every voice we hear deserves to be honored and respected.”
Host Keys ended on, “Who run the world?” signaling applause from the audience and the start of the show.
The move to include a female host along with the four women who joined her onstage during the monologue comes a year after Recording Academy president Neil Portnow was heavily criticized over his comments that female musicians should “step up” to improve gender representation at the Grammys.
Obama is currently in the midst of a promotional tour for her autobiographical memoir, Becoming, which was published by Crown in 2018. The next couple of months will see her visit Arizona, Texas and beyond.
From the Grammys, Obama posted about female friendship on social media.
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! pic.twitter.com/8cMhTmsClA
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 11, 2019
The 61st Annual Grammy Awards were broadcast live from Staples Center in Los Angeles. View the ladies’ address below.
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