In the midst of the seemingly endless parade of collaborations and performances at this year’s Grammys, the ceremony took a turn for the important and serious when it aired a public service announcement from President Obama highlighting the issue of violence against women and promoting the It’s On Us campaign.
“Right now nearly one in five women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape, and more than one in four women has experienced some form of domestic violence,” Obama says in the PSA. “It’s not okay and it has to stop. Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters, and all of us in our own lives have the power to set an example.”
The airing of the PSA was followed by a powerful and personal speech from activist Brooke Axtell, the founder of SHE: Survivor Healing and Empowerment. “Authentic love does not devalue another human being,” Axtell said. “Authentic love does not silence, shame, or abuse.” After Axtell’s remarks, Katy Perry took the stage to perform “By The Grace of God.”
Many on Twitter remarked about the fact that Chris Brown, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to felony assault in an attack on Rihanna, was nominated for multiple awards and is present at this year’s ceremony.
Others also mentioned that R. Kelly, against whom there have been sexual assault allegations, was also nominated.