The Jewish community had a lot to process following the 66th Annual Grammys on Sunday night. There were moments to cheer, and moments to cringe.
In his remarks, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. gave a three-minute speech about the uniting capabilities of music. Halfway through, he called out the horrific examples of terror attacks perpetrated deliberately on music fans around the world—including those of the October 7th attacks in Israel.
“Every one of us, no matter where we’re from, is united by the shared experience of music,” Mason, Jr. said. “It brings us together like nothing else can, and that’s why music must always be our safe space. When that’s violated, it strikes at the very core of who we are. We felt that at the Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris. We felt that at the Manchester Arena in England. We felt that at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. And on October 7th, we felt that again when we heard the tragic news from the Supernova Music Festival for love, that over 360 music fans lost their lives, and another 40 were kidnapped. That day, and all the tragic days that have followed, have been awful for the world to bear as we mourn the loss of all innocent lives.”
Video clips of Mason’s words have been shared across social media by some of the most active defenders of Israel. Still, some people were irked that Mason called out the Paris, England, and Las Vegas terror attacks geographically, but neglected to say the word “Israel” when calling out the Supernova Music Festival.
Still, Mason continued about music and unity, as a string quartet played a somber tune.
“We live in a world divided by so much, and maybe music can’t solve everything. But let us all agree: Music must remain the common ground upon which we all stand together in peace and harmony. Because music has always been one of humanity’s greatest connectors. Think about it. Every song that we’re honoring or hearing tonight moved someone, no matter where they were from or what they believed, that connected them to others who are moved in the same way.”
Take the string quartet as individuals, Mason continued. “They sound really good. But together, they achieve something beautiful they could never do apart. These musicians of Palestinian, Israeli, and Arab descent are here playing together.” The crowd at the Crypto.com Arena erupted in applause. As of press time, the identities of the string quartet members were not readily available.
“Now is the time for us, for humanity to play together, to come together with empathy and with Love,” Mason concluded.
In 2021, Mason was honored as an Ambassador of Peace by the entertainment industry-focused pro-Israel nonprofit, Creative Community for Peace.
As the program continued, photos circulated of TikTok star Montana Tucker on the red carpet wearing a giant yellow ribbon affixed to her dress with the words “Bring Them Home” across the top. Yellow ribbons are to create awareness and support for the 132 hostages held captive in Gaza by terror group Hamas for the past 120 days. Tucker’s dress was made by Israeli fashion designer Ortal Mizrahi’s MadeByILA.
Tucker has been one of the most (if not the most) active pro-Israel influencers for the under-30 crowd.
Tucker has been one of the most (if not the most) active pro-Israel influencers for the under-30 crowd. In 2022, she put her singing and dancing content on pause for several weeks as she posted a ten-part TikTok documentary about retracing her grandmother’s Auschwitz concentration camp survival story.
Also on the red carpet were pro-Palestinian fashion statements by several Grammy nominees. The three members of the band boygenius — Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus — wore “Artists4Ceasefire” pins on their suits. Poet Aja Monet came to the event with a watermelon-adorned clutch purse. The watermelon is a symbol of Palestine as its red, green and black are stand-ins for brandishing a Palestinian flag. Bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding wore a traditional Palestinian keffiyeh to the ceremony.
Later in the Grammys broadcast, singer Annie Lennox drew ire for shouting “artists for ceasefire” after singing a tearful rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” in honor of the late singer/songwriter, Sinéad O’Connor. Still, Hamas rejected a hostage and ceasefire deal with Israel yet again over the weekend.
At the end of the evening, there were several Jewish Grammy winners:
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
“Being Funny in a Foreign Language” by The 1975
“Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” by Lana del Rey
“Midnights” by Taylor Swift
Best Musical Theater Album
Marc Shaiman – “Some Like It Hot” co-producer, composer & lyricist
Charlie Rosen – “Some Like It Hot” co-producer
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Mark Ronson – “Barbie the Album” co-producer
Best Engineered Album, Classical
David Frost – “Contemporary American Composers,” co-engineer
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
Teddy Abrams – “The American Project” – conductor of the Louisville Orchestra
Dr. Dre Global Impact Award
Lenny Kravitz, co-recipient