Some were loud, others were subtle.
Seeing music’s biggest stars speak out about injustice and political resistance was easily the highlight of last night’s Grammys. Some messages were subtle, others were more blatant. But overall, it was clear that music and activism are inextricably linked.
Here are the biggest political messages of the night you may have missed.
James Corden’s opening monologue
Watch: James Corden opened the Grammys spitting bars and threw an inevitable shot at Donald Trump. #GRAMMYs https://t.co/32uFnQzjTp
The actor and writer James Corden, who hosted the event, came hot and heavy in his opening monologue when he rapped about the uncertainty of not knowing “what comes next” with Trump in the Oval Office. Later in the show, Corden mocked Trump’s use of the phrase “fake news” to describe things he doesn’t like.
The rock band Highly Suspect showed up on the red carpet wearing “Impeach” jackets
The group showed off Johnny Stevens’ “impeach” jacket, which was a simple and powerful message about how Congress should respond to President Trump’s shenanigans.????
ScHoolboy Q’s father-daughter feminist moment
The hip-hop artist ScHoolboy Q and his daughter, Joyce, arrived to the red carpet in matching bubblegum-pink outfits. That’s adorable and moving at the same time. #DaddyDaughterGoals.
Beyoncé’s Powerful Acceptance Speech On Representation
After accepting the award for Best Urban Contemporary Album, Beyonce delivered an incredible statement about racial identity. Reading from a golden notecard, she spoke on the importance of her children seeing themselves represented in pop culture.
“It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first at their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House, and the Grammys, and see themselves, and have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent, and capable,” she said. “This is something I want for every child of every race, and I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.”
A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes’ major anti-Trump message
Hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest bring the ???????????? and get political at the #GRAMMYs https://t.co/fFEfJSnFYT
In perhaps the most explicit anti-Trump performance of the night, iconic hop hop group A Tribe Called Quest performed a (rather blunt) protest song. “We’d like to say to all those people around the world, all those people who are pushing people in power to represent them: Tonight, we represent you,” Q-Tip said.
Busta Rhymes took it even further when he said, during the same performance: “I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban.”
The group performed in front of a wall on stage that they later smashed down, which is a very obvious metaphor for Trump’s “Build the Wall” agenda.
Laverne Cox’s Nod To Gavin Grimm
As always Laverne Cox uses her platform for good and to spread awareness. Show your support for Gavin! #StandWithGavin ?????
While announcing Lady Gaga and Metallica’s performance, OITNB star Laverne Cox told us to Google “Gavin Grimm.” Gavin is the transgender boy whose case will be heard by the Supreme Court next month. Gavin and his lawyers fought with education officials in Virginia for years for Gavin’s right to use the boys bathroom.
The Trump administration dealt a blow to transgender rights over the weekend when it dropped a motion to keep Obama’s anti-discrimination protections for transgender people intact, which is why #StandWithGavin is so important right now.
Paris Jackson On The Dakota Access Pipeline
Paris Jackson gives a shoutout to the protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline #NoDAPL at tonight's #Grammys https://t.co/4XjefbqZfj
Michael Jackson’s daughter introduced The Weeknd and Daft’s Punk performance with a politically charged statement about the Dakota Access Pipeline. “We can really use this kind of excitement at a pipeline protest, guys. #NoDAPL!” she said. The pipeline crosses through the ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, threatening the tribe’s water.
Katy Perry’s “persist” message wins the night
Katy Perry gets political for her #GRAMMYs performance https://t.co/xqxI42EPU9
Fresh off the heels of her new song, “Chained to the Rhythm,” KP used the Grammys as a political platform, performing with her collaborator Ziggy Marley in one of the most memorable performances of the night. Dressed in a white pantsuit, she wore an armband that said “Persist,” a nod to Elizabeth Warren, who Senate Republicans silenced earlier this month.
Last week, Republican senator Mitch McConnell said Warren “was warned” and “was given an explanation” but “nevertheless, she persisted.” Since then, “persist” has become a feminist rallying cry.
As her performance went on, Perry stood in front of a projection of the Constitution, yelling “no hate!”
Bow down to Katy.