Beyoncé did not utter the words “President Trump” on Sunday as she accepted the Grammy for best urban contemporary album for “Lemonade,” but her powerful statement about the beauty of being black spoke to the current political moment. Here is her full speech:
Thank you so much. Hi baby. Thank you to the Grammy voters for this incredible honor, and thank you to everyone who worked so hard to beautifully capture the profundity of deep southern culture. I thank God for my family, my wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter, my fans for bringing me so much happiness and support. We all experience pain and loss, and often we become inaudible. My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable.
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 through 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. 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. Thank you again for honoring “Lemonade.” Have a beautiful evening. Thank you for tonight. This is incredible.
Adele, the night’s big winner for album, record, and song of the year, was the rare prominent artist who avoided politics when given the mic at a major awards ceremony during these early months of the Trump era. Instead, Adele focused on her career, collaborators, and motherhood — as well as a shout-out to Beyonce, who was also nominated in those three categories. In one acceptance speech Adele looked out at Beyonce, who is pregnant with twins, and said, “I adore you and I want you to be my mommy.” Moments later, Adele accepted the final award of the night for album of the year. Here is her full speech:
Thank you. Hi guys. Hi, everyone. Hi, hi, hi. As you can see it took an army to make me strong and willing again enough to do it. But thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Five years ago, when I was last here, I also was pregnant, and I didn’t know. And I was awarded that shortly after — I found out shortly after, which was the biggest blessing of my life. And in my pregnancy and through becoming a mother I lost a lot of myself. And I’ve struggled, and I still do struggle being a mom. It’s really hard. But tonight winning this kind of feels full-circle, and like a bit of me has come back to myself.
But I can’t possibly accept this award. And I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful and gracious. But my artist of my life is Beyoncé. And this album to me, the “Lemonade” album, is just so monumental. Beyoncé, it’s so monumental. And so well thought out, and so beautiful and soul-baring and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see. And we appreciate that. And all us artists here adore you. You are our light.
And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves. And I love you. I always have and I always will. Grammys, I appreciate it. The academy, I love you. My manager, my husband and my son. You’re the only reason I do it. Thank you so much. Thank you very much to everybody.
The rapper Busta Rhymes was far less subtle than Beyonce about taking on President Trump — though he chose a different name for him while making a fiery introduction to “We the People” by A Tribe Called Quest.
I’m not feeling the political climate right now. 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 of the Muslim ban.
Jennifer Lopez also weighed in with a spirited political call to artists to stand together.
At this particular point in history, our voices are needed more than ever. 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. We do language. That is how civilizations heal. So tonight, we celebrate our most universal language, music, as we honor the voices of the past and the present.
The show was light on politics during its first two hours, a sharp break from other recent entertainment galas like the SAG awards and the Golden Globe ceremony. Mr. Trump’s name was barely invoked through the night. The Grammy’s host, James Corden, tucked it into a lengthy rap at the top of the show:
Be honest with me: When you were a kid, did you ever have dreams you were invited to this?
Wishes came true, we celebrate you. You gotta be thankful that this what you do.
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.
Music is ours, remember forever: We can survive by sticking together.
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