Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Unexpected Guest of the Grammy Awards

The 64th edition of the Grammy Awards was not only filled with music, but also with a strong political charge after the message issued by the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Photo: YT-Access

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, el invitado inesperado de los Grammy 2022

Much is said that it is not appropriate to mix politics with other topics such as sports, performing arts and even music, but it certainly ends up being inevitable not to do so. The world is on the verge of a possible new war and it is necessary that messages of peace begin to spread, regardless of the type of scenario where it is done. This is how the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where the Grammy Awards were held, served as a platform for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to make a call to fill the silence emitted by the conflict with Russia with music.

The ceremony that brought together the greatest exponents of the music industry was developing without inconvenience or controversy, despite the fact that Trevor Noah (host of the gala) made some references to the Will Smith incident at the Oscar awards. However, and to the surprise of most viewers, one of the moments of greatest impact occurred when President Zelenskyy appeared on the giant screens of the venue with a pre-recorded message asking for support in the face of the invasion of Ukraine.

From the outset, the Ukrainian president compared the armed conflict with the silence that surrounds the cities of his country and its inhabitants, especially children. "War. What is more opposite of music? The silence of ruined cities and murdered people. Our kids draw falling missiles, not shooting stars. More than 400 children have been injured and 153 have died. And we will never see them draw again," Zelenskyy said.

«The war does not let us choose who survives and who remains in eternal silence. Our musicians wear bulletproof vests instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even those who cannot hear them. But the music will break through anyway," he continued with the message. Likewise, he also called for freedom, to live, to love, to fill the silence with music and to support them by telling their story on social networks and on television.

Finally, Zelenskyy closed his message with the hope that at any moment the desired peace will come to his nation. And then peace will come. To all our cities that the war is destroying; Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol and others are already legends. But I have a dream that they live. And free. Free like you on the Grammy stage.

The intervention of the president of Ukraine served as an introduction to the presentation of the singer John Legend, who performed the song "Free" with his piano as a special tribute to the European country . Along with him, the Ukrainian artists Mika Newton and Suzanna Iglidan also joined, in addition to Lyuba Yakimchuk who recited an emotional poem while images of the war were shown on the giant screens.

Read also: Grammys 2022: the most popular looks on the red carpet

Grammy 2022: another intervention for history

If there is something that makes music so powerful, it is its way of lifting spirits and responding to the darkest times of life. Knowing this and prior to the start of the Grammy ceremony, the Recording Academy in conjunction with Global Citizen promoted the Stand Up For Ukraine campaign, with the aim of raising financial support for refugees as well as raising awareness about the displacement of the Ukrainians for the invasion of their country.

In turn, it is worth mentioning that this is not the first time that the Grammy stage has been used for political purposes, and it will most certainly not be the last. It is no secret to anyone that it is one of the biggest award ceremonies in the music industry, and therefore millions of people tune in to it every year. However, according to data from the Statista portal, the number of viewers in 2022 has been the lowest in recent decades, registering only 7.81 million.

And it is that until not long ago, the average number of viewers did not fall below 20 million, even by 2011 they almost doubled it, but it was from 2018 that the numbers began to drop drastically. Why? Although it is not known for sure, some moments with political overtones could cause that fall. Just four years ago, the Grammy gala had former United States presidential candidate Hilary Clinton as a guest, who, together with the host of that moment and other celebrities, made a parody that criticized then President Donald Trump.

In short, it can be ensured that nothing and no one escapes from politics. Regardless of the setting used, these types of interventions like Zelenskyy's continue to generate divided opinions, either because they overshadow the gala itself or because it is important to show empathy for those affected. With all that, what we have to highlight most at the moment is the fact of not allowing the silence of a war to cover a world that is usually illuminated by music.

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