You can always count on the Grammys to bring viewers a great show, with all kinds of surprise artists and performances. But this year, the audience was floored when the former First Lady Michelle Obama surprised the Grammy Awards. She graced the stage with Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Jada Pinkett Smith, and each of the ladies spoke to the transcending power of music.
“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,” said Obama. “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?”
Her sheer presence on stage electrified the Grammy audience, both at the show and online. Twitter was quick to react with surprise and joy at the sight of the former First Lady, with writer Michael Arceneaux quipping, "I love that Michelle Obama just randomly shows up at the Grammys looking like Album of the Year."
"There are world famous pop stars in the audience hyperventilating over Michelle Obama. That really says it all," wrote one Twitter user, while another tweeted, "Michelle Obama said 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 of a word and the place almost collapsed onto itself. Nobody is more popular than Michelle."
But fans weren't the only one to take to Twitter to talk about her surprise appearance. Obama posted a backstage photo from the Grammys, and talked about her friendship with Alicia Keys. "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," tweeted Obama. "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!"
The women alongside Obama on stage expressed their own inspirational journeys with music. “They said I was weird, that my look, my choices, my sound, that it wouldn't work,” said Lady Gaga. “But music told me not to listen to them. 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."
Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez referred to her Bronx roots, and talked about how music gave her a reason to dance. “And it kept me moving from the block to the big stages and even bigger screens,” she said. “It reminded me where I come from, but it also reminded me of all the places that I can go. Music has always been the one place we can all feel truly free.”
No matter who wins at the Grammys, the real winners were the Grammy audience. Not only did they get to see the First Lady, they got to hear her timely inspirational message of inclusion, diversity, and acceptance.