In Summary
  • Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the Grammys stage Sunday to deliver a message about music and women's empowerment.
  • The Recording Academy behind the awards gala has faced a barrage of criticism for not embracing diversity within its ranks, after nearly muting women nominees at the show last year.
  • Obama said: "Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in."

Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the Grammys stage Sunday to deliver a message about music and women's empowerment alongside superstars Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, host Alicia Keys and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith.

"Music shows us that all of it matters -- every story within every voice, every note within every song," said the former first lady, looking glam in a sparkling gunmetal pantsuit with a 1970s-esque wrap jacket.

"Is that right, ladies?" she said to resounding applause.

The Recording Academy behind the awards gala has faced a barrage of criticism for not embracing diversity within its ranks, after nearly muting women nominees at the show last year.

This year, five of the eight nominees for Album of the Year are women: rapper Cardi B, folk-rock singer Brandi Carlile, pop futurist Janelle Monae, R&B prodigy H.E.R. and country star Kacey Musgraves.

Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, former US First Lady Michelle Obama and US singer Jennifer Lopez speak on stage during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, former US First Lady Michelle Obama and US singer Jennifer Lopez speak on stage during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. PHOTO| AFP

At the start of the segment, Lady Gaga -- a triple winner so far on the night -- said: "They told me I was weird... And music told me not to listen to them."

Lopez -- who has parlayed her successful music career into acting -- said that music "kept me moving from the block to the big stages and even bigger screens."

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