Michelle Obama, former US First Lady made a surprise appearance on the Grammy stage, leading female solidarity at the 61st Grammy awards.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 31 women snagged awards at the 2019 ceremony and female artists were honoured across 38 categories.
The number of female winners is a drastic change from the 2018 ceremony, in which only 17 of the 86 awards were won by women or female-led bands.
Also, 15 women were nominated in the big four categories — album of the year, song of the year, record of the year and best new artist, which was significantly more than the six women that were nominated in 2018.
Obama showed up to support host, Alicia Keys alongside other notable women in music including Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pickett-Smith and Lady Gaga on Sunday night.
Following the tone of positivity and hope already set by Keys, Obama went on to extol the value of music citing her own personal experiences which elicited loud cheers from the audience.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the ‘who run the world’ songs that fueled me through this last decade.
“Music has always helped me tell my story. And I know that’s true for everybody here.
“Whether we like country, or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves — our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in.”
“Music shows us that all of it matters, every story within every voice, every note within every song — is that right ladies?” Obama asked, looking around at the women on stage with her.
Not long after, Diana Ross, in a flowing red gown, celebrated her upcoming 75th birthday with two hits from her solo career, ‘The Best Years of My Life’ and ‘Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)’.
She punctuated her performance by speaking to the crowd. She said, “So much love in this room. Together we have no limits.
“There’s only success ahead and you can lead the way. Learn, dream, unlock new doors. All is possible,” Ross said.
Earlier in the night, Lady Gaga accepted an award for ‘Shallow’ from “A Star Is Born” and said she was proud to be part of a movie that addresses mental health issues.
She said, “A lot of artists deal with that, and we’ve got to take care of each other. So if you see somebody that hurting, don’t look away.”