Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the 64th Grammy Awards on Sunday, speaking in a pre-recorded segment shown at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena before John Legend paid tribute to the war-torn country.
Zelenskyy urged music artists to “tell our story” of his country, which has been facing a humanitarian crisis since Russia’s invasion in February. In somber tones, he described the devastating impact on life and music.
“The war. What’s more against music? The silence of devastated cities and murdered people. Our children draw swooping rockets, not stars,” Zelenskyy said. “More than 400 children were injured and 153 children died. We will never see them draw. Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning. In bomb as in bombs, but alive. Our loved ones do not know if we will be together be again. “
“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing for the wounded in hospitals,” Zelenskyy said. “Even for those who can not hear them, but their music will break through.”
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“In any case, we defend our freedom. To live. To love. To sound,” he said.
Zelenskyy ended the speech with a list of Ukrainian cities under siege. “I have a dream of living them, and free. Free like you on the Grammy stage,” he said.
Grammys host Trevor Noah introduced the surprise Zelenskyy outward saying, “Even in the darkest times, music has the power to lift spirits and give you hope for a brighter tomorrow. There is no one who could use a little hope on it. stands more than the people of Ukraine “
Legend then performed his tribute “Free” on stage, along with Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk and Mika Newton, a Ukrainian singer who sang a verse in the Ukrainian song.
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Oscars co-host Amy Schumer had said she hoped Zelenskyy would speak at the Academy Awards last weekend.
“I want to sleep that night, knowing I’ve done my part to be aware of some of the terrible things that are happening, including (what’s happening) in Florida and Texas. The whole world is on fire,” he said. told Schumer for USA Today before the Oscars.
But the Ukrainian president did not appear at the show.
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