Mere hours after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia’s nearly monthlong invasion of his country a genocide, he appeared at the 2022 Grammy Awards in a pre-taped address.
“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals,” Zelensky told a hushed and solemn audience of his countrymen, adding, “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 this war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can, but not with silence.”
The Recording Academy worked with Global Citizen and the Stand Up For Ukraine campaign to bring Zelensky’s message to the Grammys after an attempt to have him appear at the 94th Annual Academy Awards last Sunday ultimately proved unsuccessful.
In the wake of an Oscars night that was—to say the least—surprising, it’s heartening to see the Grammys shift gears and train their focus on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a major human-rights issue that’s slowly ceased to dominate the news cycle over the past few weeks. Hopefully, Zelensky’s address at the Grammys can return proper attention to the embattled nation’s plight.