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This year’s Grammys ceremony included a moving tribute to Ukraine.
Performances and speeches recognized the turmoil the country is currently in due to Russia’s attacks, and a message asked for people to continue sending donations and giving support.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a speech via video—which was pre-recorded from a bunker in Kyiv. The message, a part of Global Citizen’s “Stand Up For Ukraine” campaign, called for viewers to raise awareness of the war on social networks and television, and was followed by a performance from John Legend and Ukrainian musicians and a poet.
“The war. What is more opposite of music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” Zelenskyy said. “Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died, and we will never see them drawing. Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning in bomb shelters, but alive. Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.”
He continued, “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway. We defend our freedom. To live. To love. To sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia which brings horrible silence with its bombs. Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today. Tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks and TV. But not silence.”
After the speech, Legend performed his newly-released song “Free,” singing and playing the piano accompanied by Ukrainian musician Siuzanna Iglidan, Ukrainian singer Mika Newton, and Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk. The song ended with a message for viewers to visit Global Citizen’s donation page for Ukraine.
Other awards shows this season have included tributes to the European country. At last week’s Oscars, several attendees wore blue ribbons printed with “#WithRefugees,” which were created by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and distributed by the UN Refugee Agency.
The Oscars ceremony also included a moment of silence to “show support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders,” per a statement shown during the broadcast.
“While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water, and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we—collectively and as a global community—can do more,” the statement read.
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