Five powerful women took the stage to usher in the 2019 Grammys: Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama, and Grammy host Alicia Keys. Each had something important to say about the impact of music on their lives.
After last year's Grammys shut out many women in the music industry from well-deserved award nominations, having women open the show to talk about what music means to them is a step in the right direction.
While Obama may not be a music superstar herself, the former FLOTUS wowed the crowd when she shared how she was long inspired by the sounds she grew up with. She even name-checked Motown — the record company celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, to be honoured during Sunday's show — specifically.
"From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the 'who run the world' records that carried me through the last decade, music has always helped me tell my story," said Obama. "I know that's true for everybody here."
"They said I was weird. That my look, my choices, my sound, that it wouldn't work. But music told me not to listen to them," the Star Is Born actress told the crowd. "Music took my ears, took my hands, my voice, and my soul. And it led me to all of you and to my little monsters who I love so much."
Second Act star Jennifer Lopez echoed the statement.
"[Music] reminds me where I come from and all the places that I can go," she said. "Music has always been the one place we can all feel truly free."
As for Jada Pinkett Smith, she announced:
"We express our pain power and progress through music, whether we are creating it or just appreciating it."
Calling music our "shared global language," Keys told the crowd:
"Music is what we love. It's what it's all about. Music is what we cry to, what we march to, what we rock to, what we make love to."
Now... let's make sure the Grammys honour more women for their contributions to this global language.