LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 10: (L-R) Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez speak onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
Alicia Keys had a surprise guest to open the 2019 Grammy Awards on Sunday night: Michelle Obama.
Keys delivered a somewhat rambling speech about music being our “global language,” telling the crowd, “Music is what we all love. Music is what it’s all about … Music is what we cry to, it’s what we march to, it’s what we rock to, it’s what we make love to. It’s our shared global language. When you really want to say something, you say it with a song. “
She then brought out Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Obama and Jennifer Lopez.
Gaga spoke first of the group, telling the crowd, “They said I was weird, that my look, my choices, my sound, that it wouldn’t work. But music told me not to listen to them. Music took my ears, took my hands, my voice and my soul and it led me to all of you and to my little monsters who I love so much.”
Lopez was next to reminisce.
“Back in the Bronx, music gave me a reason to dance … and it kept me moving from the block to the big stages and even bigger screens,” she said. “It reminds me of where I come from but it also reminds me of all the places I can go. Music is the one place we can all feel truly free.”
Pinkett Smith quipped, “Every voice we hear deserves to be heard and respected.”
That’s when the former first lady spoke up, sending the crowd into an uproar.”Amen,” Obama said. “From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side,” she began as the audience stood up and screamed. “Come on, we got a show to do,” she said with a grin. “From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘who run the world’ songs of the last decade, music always helped me tell my story. Whether we like country, rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves … it allows us to hear one another to invite each other in it shows us that all of it matters.”