The Grammy Awards took a rare unified stand last night, zeroing in on the social issue of domestic violence in the show’s most powerful segment.
With speeches from U.S. President Barack Obama and Brooke Axtell introducing Katy Perry’s live performance, the Grammys tackled a complex, urgent topic.
It wasn’t lost on audiences that Chris Brown, the industry’s most famous domestic abuser, was on hand to see this issue squarely in the spotlight.
Brown’s brutal assault then-girlfriend Rihanna occurred right before the 2009 Grammy Awards, and forever tarnished his image in the eyes of many.
The R&B star remains a record industry pet, however, having earned three nominations this year and taken home golden Victrolas in the past.
He didn’t cause any trouble or controversy at the event, but his presence at the event provides a useful reminder that this issue isn’t going away.
Nor should it. In fact, it’s in more people’s minds than ever after this.
Brown’s visibility marked quite a stark contrast with Obama, who called on the music world to send a stronger message against domestic abuse.
"Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes," he said.
Then there was the domestic violence survivor turned activist who introduced the performance by Katy Perry with a powerful spoken word essay.
Watch her speak about her journey below if you haven’t seen it yet:
"I think that we’re in a stage in the movement for social justice when we are in desperate need of having male allies,” Brooke Axtell said afterward.
“And that means that part of that is confronting within our own communities in a powerful and honest way when violence occurs," she added.
A big part of that entails "making sure that we’re providing interventions for both those who have abused and those who have been abused."
"I think it’s such an important part of the conversation because it doesn’t help to stigmatize somebody for their own struggle around this issue."
Perry then performed "By The Grace of God," a moving ballad about crawling back from a ruinous love (although not necessarily physically violent).
The singer reportedly had a falling out with former best friend Rihanna after she took Chris Brown back, so the issue resonates with her as well.
What did you think of the extended segment on domestic abuse? Does Chris being present devalue it at all, or only enhance the urgency of the message?