Joy Villa Wears a Trump Dress
The 2017 Grammys got political before the ceremony even began, when singer Joy Villa walked the red carpet wearing a dress emblazoned with Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” down the bodice and “Trump” written in huge glittering block letters along the hem of the train. Villa wore a long white cape over her dress when she arrived on the carpet, and threw it off for the cameras to dramatically unveil her political fashion statement.
James Corden’s Opening Monologue
First-time host James Corden’s elaborately choreographed arrival on the Grammy stage seemed shaky at first, but it soon became obvious the series of technical difficulties and clumsy mishaps that kicked off his grand entrance were intentional. After cutting off the music and dismissing his backup dancers from the stage, he delivered a rather more minimalist introduction to the Grammys in the form of a rap. In addition to shoutouts to the artists in attendance, his lyrics included, “Live it all up, because this is the best, and with President Trump, we don’t know what comes next! We sit here tonight, no matter our race, or where we were born or color of face, using this song remember forever, we could survive by sticking together.” Later in the show, Corden told the audience that their tweets might be shared as part of the telecast; the messages that subsequently rolled at the bottom of the screen were all insults directed at him (except for one complimentary tweet, from @realDonaldTrump). In a dig at the President and “fake news,” Corden feigned anger and exclaimed, “Any negative tweets you see are fake!”
Katy Perry Performs
Katy Perry, who was outspoken in her support for Hillary Clinton during the election, took the stage near the middle of the show to perform her new single “Chained to the Rhythm,” which dropped on Friday. For the performance, Perry accessorized her black-and-white pantsuit with red-tinted sunglasses and an armband reading “PERSIST” in pink sparkling letters. As the song ended, the preamble to the U.S. Constitution was projected onto the stage; Perry and her collaborator Skip Marley raised their joined hands in front of the enormous “We the People” script and the pop diva shouted, “No hate!”
Jennifer Lopez Quotes Toni Morrison
Taking the stage at the top of the show to present the award for Best New Artist (the honor went to Chance the Rapper), J.Lo, wearing a dreamy pale purple gown, made a political statement with a quote from Toni Morrison. “At this particular point in history, our voices are needed more than ever,” Lopez said. “As Toni Morrison once said, ‘This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, and no room for fear.’”
Laverne Cox Takes a Stand
Laverne Cox used her moment onstage to briefly speak out about a political issue close to her heart before introducing performers Lady Gaga and Metallica. “Everyone, please Google Gavin Grimm,” she implored the audience. “He’s going to the Supreme Court in March. #StandWithGavin.” Grimm is a transgender teenager who sparked debate when he used the boys’ bathroom at his high school in Gloucester, Virginia. When his case is tried before the Supreme Court next month, SCOTUS’ decision will impact the lives of transgender students across the country.
Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, and A Tribe Called Quest Resist
Toward the end of the show, Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, and A Tribe Called Quest joined forces for the most politically charged moment of the night. The group first prefaced their show-stopping performance with a dedication to Phife Dawg, and a message: “We’d like to say, to all of those people around the world, all those people who are pushing people who are in power to represent them: Tonight we represent you.” Then, in the middle of the performance, Busta Rhymes rapped, “I’d like to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States! I’d like to thank President Agent Orange for his unsuccessful attempt at a Muslim ban!” after which the group launched into a lively performance of “We the People.” The entire act ended with a chant of “RESIST! RESIST! RESIST! RESIST!”