The most important performance at the 2015 Grammy Awards wasn’t by a musician.
President of the Unites States, Barack Obama crashed the Grammy Awards ceremony last night. The most powerful man in the world made a short, sharp, poignant speech about ending rape and violence against women.
The speech was terrific, obviously. The issue deserves as much air time as possible and the power of celebrity musicians to help spread a message like this is unparalleled. Obama knew he was talking to a highly influential crowd…
I only hope that convicted domestic abuser Chris Brown and accused rapist R Kelly, who were among the celebrities attending the event, were listening closely.
Chris Brown is the rapper who brutally beat his then-girlfriend and fellow artist Rihanna in a car park in 2009.
By the end of last night’s awards ceremony he’d walked away with a shiny trophy celebrating his ability to angrily spit out words to a tune.
That’s right, Chris Brown was convicted of assault, spent some time in prison, did some community service, got a tattoo that powerfully resembled Rihanna’s battered face… and then promptly got on with his career in an industry that allows, if not condones, this kind of ‘bad boy’ behaviour from its stars.
Also in the crowd last night was singer R Kelly, wrote some songs about flying and being invincible around the same time he allegedly sexually assaulted underage girls in an incredibly vicious manner. Here he is performing at last year’s Grammys:
But even if Obama’s words failed to reach either of these men directly, perhaps Brooke Axtell’s did.
Immediately after the President’s message played, Brooke came to the stage. She spoke breathtakingly well about her experience as a domestic abuse survivor. She gave a voice to the 1 in 5 women who’ve experienced rape or attempted rape in the States.
Watch it – please, please, watch it.
Moments later, pop star Katy Perry arrived and sang ‘By The Grace of God’. It was chilling.
And that’s what’s known as a triple-whammy approach to getting an important message heard. Between President Obama, extraordinary survivor Brooke Axtell, and ridiculously famous Katy Perry (who, don’t forget, is Rihanna’s close friend), maybe — just maybe — the world’s musical celebrities listened.
And now maybe — just maybe — we’re a couple of steps closer to dealing with the global epidemic of violence against women.