(Corrects to indicate Perry's armband reads "persist" not
By Alexandria Sage
SAN FRANCISCO Feb 12 A giant video projection
of the U.S. Constitution loomed over the stage at this year's
Grammys, making the music industry's top awards show one of the
most overtly political yet.
The document that defines America and famously begins with
"We the People" provoked a standing ovation from the audience at
the culmination of a performance by pop singer Katy Perry, who
wore a "Persist" armband and sang her newly released song,
"Chained to the Rhythm."
With a refrain of "We think we're free," the song's lyrics
talk about being lulled into a "comfortable bubble." Performing
on a set that included a picture-perfect white picket fence,
Perry was joined by Skip Marley, grandson of Jamaican reggae
legend Bob Marley, whose songs often protested against
oppression and social injustice.
The aftermath of November's bitterly fought U.S.
presidential election has produced a succession of political
comments by artists at awards shows, most notably actress Meryl
Streep's speech attacking U.S. President Donald Trump during the
Golden Globes Awards in January.
That spree continued on Sunday, as various artists talked
about the divisive political atmosphere and the need to speak
"At this particular time in history, our voices are needed
more than ever," said Jennifer Lopez onstage at the start of the
In a more comic vein, Grammys host James Corden began the
show with a rap: "Live it all up because this is the best, and
with President Trump we don't know what comes next."
Hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest performed a
politically charged medley with best new artist nominee Anderson
Paak, calling out to "Agent Orange," a nickname for Trump. At
the end of the song, women wearing headscarves joined the
performers onstage accompanied by cries of "Resist!"
At an early ceremony ahead of the main awards show, Chance
the Rapper won an award for best rap performance, during which
he wore a black hoodie with "Obama" on the back and "thank you"
on the front.
But the commentary was not all anti-Trump. In a bold
statement that instantly made headlines, singer Joy Villa on the
red carpet revealed a gown with "Make America Great Again" - the
election slogan of Trump - stitched down the front.
(Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Bill Rigby)