Recording Academy President Neil Portnow struck a different note than many artists at the 59th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, when he asked for President Donald Trump’s and Congress’ help in an issue that is near and dear to musicians’ hearts: compensation.
While multiple artists including Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, and the program’s host James Corden took their moment under the lights to make statements against Trump, Portnow made an appeal for a change in the laws governing the music industry, which drew applause from the large crowd on hand at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
“We are constantly reminded about the things that divide us: Race, region and religion, gender, sexual orientation, political party. But what we need so desperately are more reminders of all that binds us together – our shared history, our common values and our dedication to build for ourselves a more perfect union,” Portnow said.
He continued, “President John F. Kennedy once observed, ‘The life of the arts is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose – and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.’ That’s so true. And that’s why we must be loud and clear in our unwavering support of music and the arts – and those who create it.”
Portnow noted the “hundreds of thousands of unsung musicians, songwriters, producers and engineers” who make the magic happen, but are working under “outdated rules and regulations, some going back 100 years.”
“So, the Recording Academy, together with America’s music makers, call on the President and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education and renewing America’s commitment to the arts,” he said, which garnered loud applause from the music artists.
“It’s our collective responsibility to preserve what binds us – and to ensure that the whole world continues to benefit from one of our most unique, economically and spiritually important assets and exports: American music,” Portnow concluded.
While the Recording Academy head used his remarks to sound a reconciling chord, singer Jennifer Lopez took a thinly veiled shot at Trump saying:
“At this particular point in history, our voices are needed more than ever,” Lopez said before introducing the Grammy nominees for best new artist. “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.”
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Katy Perry, who endorsed Hillary Clinton and made multiple campaign appearances on her behalf, wore a white pants suit to the Grammys along with a “persist” armband to show her solidarity with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, D-Mass., controversial remarks last week in opposition to the appointment of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
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Meanwhile, the show’s host, James Corden, said in his opening rap performance: “With President Trump we don’t know what comes next,” adding, “Using this art remember forever, we can survive by sticking together.”
However, one artist went in exactly the opposite direction, displaying her unabashed support for the new president. Joy Villa arrived at the event in a white gown, but when she hit the red carpet, she disrobed revealing a “Make America Great Again” dress underneath.
Sometimes you just gotta be free to express yourself. 😍✨🎶 thank you to all of my supporters and fellow believers. Life is about living free and loving it. Be your beautiful selves tonight! 😘💋🎶😍💕 dr as by @officialandresoriano makeup by @nicholerayartistry Publicist: @mwprinc #grammys2017 #love #happygrammysday #joyvillagrammys #joyvilla
— Trump Super PAC 🇺🇸 (@TrumpSuperPAC) February 13, 2017
“The 25-year-old’s EP “I Make the Static” jumped to the top of Amazon’s top digital paid albums and reached number seven on the iTunes top album chart after her red carpet appearance,” Fox News reported.
The singer explained her controversial look on Instagram: Go big, or go home. You can either stand for what you believe or fall for what you don’t. Above all make a choice for tolerance and love. Agree to disagree. See the person over the politics, carry yourself with dignity, always. Life is made to be lived, so go boldly…!”
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