All five women spoke earnestly about the significant role music has played in their lives. But when Obama opened her mouth to speak, the auditorium erupted in applause before she could finish her first sentence. The camera cut to the audience, where it caught many people unable to contain themselves, and few actually crying over the surprise appearance. "Alright," Obama said, after pointing knowingly to a friend in the audience (oh, to be that friend). "We have a show to do." The crowd immediately quieted, obedient to the former First Lady's directives.
In her speech, Obama revealed the impact music had in her own life. "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, and I know that's true for everybody here," she said.
While never becoming overtly political, Obama's speech then touched on music's unifying powers. "Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves," she said. "Our dignities and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allowed us to hear one another. To invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters."
When the speeches ended, all four gathered around Obama as if she were the center of the most exclusive party in the world. People at home were equally affected by Obama's presence.
We may be miles away from the Grammys, but we shared in the excitement and significance of this surprise appearance. Just Obama's presence spurs hysterics. Now we know the members of our new favorite girl group. Maybe they'll go on tour.
A big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—that’s why I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music! pic.twitter.com/8cMhTmsClA— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 11, 2019