Every eyebrow was raised at the Grammy’s this year when First Lady Jill Biden presented two awards with “Song of the Year” shockingly going to singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt and the “Best Song for Social Change” award going to Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour.
Biden was explicitly asked by the Recording Academy to present the two awards, leaving some to wonder if they were rigged in advance.
Raitt, 73, beat out Beyonce, Adele, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar, and others for “Song of the Year.” Although she is an acclaimed singer/songwriter, many had never heard of Raitt.
The other award for “Best Song for Social Change” is a social justice award. It’s brazenly political in nature.
(Video Credit: Recording Academy / GRAMMYs)
The first lady wore an extravagantly expensive off-the-shoulder custom gown by Oscar de la Renta. It was described as “gold floral and vine-embroidered.” As she came onstage, Biden was given a standing ovation.
Raitt was clearly shocked when she won the award. It was all over her face. Evidently, no one expected it, not even the recipient.
“I’m so surprised, I don’t know what to say,” she said fighting back tears. “I don’t write a lot of songs but I’m so proud that you appreciate this one. I’m totally humbled.”
It is the first time a song written by a solo songwriter had won since “Rehab” from the late Amy Winehouse clinched the award in 2008, according to the Daily Mail.
Raitt called her winning the award an “unreal moment.” She claimed the song was inspired by organ donors, and the late singer-songwriter John Prine, who died from COVID in April 2020. She also won the Best Americana Performance for “Made Up Mind” and “Best American Roots Song” for “Just Like That.” Raitt has been nominated 30 times at the Grammy’s and has won 13 awards to date.
Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour won the “Best Song for Social Change” for his song “Baraye” which has been described as the anthem of the Mahsa Amini protests in Iran, according to the Daily Mail. Amini was arrested for wearing her hijab “improperly” and died while in police custody after reportedly being mercilessly beaten. Her death sparked massive protests.
Biden called his song a “powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights,” in what appeared to many to be a glaring example of political posturing.
(Video Credit: Recording Academy / GRAMMYs)
“A song can unite, inspire, and ultimately change the world. Beginning this year, the Recording Academy is presenting a new award recognizing a song that responds to the social issues of our time, and has the potential for positive global impact,” Biden declared.
Two days after “Baraye” was published, Hajipour was arrested on September 29, 2022. He was let out on bail on October 4, 2022. Authorities are accusing him of “propaganda against the system” and “inciting people to violent acts.” He is not allowed to leave Iran.
The song was reportedly composed of the tweets posted by Iranians following Amini’s death. Hajipour was forced to take it off social media by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s security agents after he was arrested. In the short time it was public, it garnered over 40 million views.
“More than 130,000 people have responded with submissions of songs that promote awareness, raise consciousness, and inspire change,” Biden claimed. “The winner of this special award was selected by a blue ribbon committee and ratified by the Recording Academy board of trustees.”
“The First Lady was honored to be asked by the Recording Academy to announce the Grammys’ first ‘Social Change’ award to Shervin Hajipour for his song ‘Baraye,'” Biden’s press secretary Vanessa Valdivia proclaimed in a statement. “As a steadfast champion for women and girls around the world, the First Lady was inspired by his song that served as an anthem for freedom and women’s rights.”
Biden appearing at the Grammy’s is the third high-profile Democrat woman to do so. Former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton have also made appearances.
Many on social media found it very curious that Jill Biden would not only appear at the Grammy’s but award “Song of the Year” to Bonnie Raitt:
jill biden when she said bonnie raitt pic.twitter.com/2Ae73ldLRX
— tessa (@istilllookup) February 6, 2023
Oh God. Jill Biden? Why? On the Grammys??? To announce Song of the year? She doesn’t even know them!!!
And it’s what? Bonnie Raitt? Seriously? 😳 pic.twitter.com/LC3jcNspvY
— Richard Wolff, US Navy (retired) 🇺🇸⚓️ (@Vet0917) February 6, 2023
Ok. So much went wrong there. Cause why was Jill Biden presenting song of the year. And why was she presenting it to Bonnie Rait???? Lol
— Jordy (@JordyElyse) February 6, 2023
why I am more surprised at jill biden presenting the award than bonnie raitt winning SOTY
— a10 (@oakstothecloaks) February 6, 2023
Bonnie Raitt is older than both Jill Biden and my dad. She was born in the 40s. That's something
— dylan (@alltimeworst) February 6, 2023
The raw power of Dr. Jill Biden's whiteness pulled the words "Beyonce/Break My Soul" off the envelope and replaced it with "I don't know… Bonnie Raitt?"
— Guy Branum (@guybranum) February 6, 2023
Jill Biden announces Bonnie Raitt as song of the year WHAT FUCKING DIMENSION AM I IN #GRAMMYs
— Dylan. (@Dylanlueking) February 6, 2023
jill biden giving bonnie raitt a grammy was not on my bingo card for 2023
— alex! (@janellesuprema1) February 6, 2023
Bonnie Raitt looking at Dr Jill Biden and saying WHAT is all of us right now
— Zach Stafford (@ZachStafford) February 6, 2023
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Republished with permission from American Wire News Service
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