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Hands Up, Don't Shoot! Grammy Performers Remind Audience That Black Lives Matter

Common, John Legend, Beyonce, Prince and Pharrell all took a moment to pay tribute to Michael Brown and others at last night's awards.
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot! Grammy Performers Remind Audience That Black Lives Matter
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

It wasn’t all fun and games at last night’s Grammys. Between the show-stopping performances and the award distribution, multiple performers, from Prince to Beyonce, took a minute to remind the audience that Black lives matter

In yet another surprise appearance, Prince was in the house last night to present the award for Album of the Year. However, he had a few reminders that he wanted to share.

“Albums still matter,” he said before presenting the award. “Like books and Black lives, albums still matter.”

Taking a different route, Pharrell Williams made a powerful statement while performing his evergreen song, “Happy.” The typically upbeat tune took on a much darker tone when he opened the performance by entering the stage in darkness and singing the opening notes in a minor key. Williams and his hoodie-clad backup dancers took a dramatic pause while holding their hands up in the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” stance that has become synonymous with Michael Brown protests.

The last performance of the night was reserved for a medley between Beyonce, John Legend and Common, who sang from the soundtrack of Ava DuVernay’s Selma. Before Legend and Common took the stage, however, Bey performed an angelic rendition of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” while her dancers in white suits stood behind her with their hands in the air. Common and Legend then took to the stage to perform their Academy Award-nominated song, “Glory,” when Common, who also stars in Selma, assumed the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” stance.

We applaud these performers for continuing to keep the convo alive!