Las Vegas: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared onscreen at the 2022 Grammy Awards here and delivered a powerful message to the world about the war on his homeland.
Ahead of singer-songwriter John Legend took the piano to launch a moving tribute in new song, “Free”, Zelensky came alive at the 64th Grammy Awards here in Nevada, the US, on Sunday to speak about the devastation brought upon the Ukrainians since Russia began its invasion at dawn on February 24.
“The war. What’s more opposite to music?” he said. “The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died, and we will never see them drawing.
“Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning — in bomb shelters, but alive. Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.”
Legend was joined by some Ukrainian performers, including Siuzanna Iglidan (originally from Odessa), Mika Newton, whose sister is serving in the Ukrainian army and Lyuba Yakimchuk, who fled Ukraine days before the war, the details as per report in international media. They wore either blue or gold — the Ukrainian colors.
On a massive screen behind the musicians flashed images of bombed apartment buildings, buildings on fire, families crowded into a subway station that turned into bomb shelter, children being loaded onto evacuation trains and a crying mother.
“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals — even to those who can’t hear them,” Zelensky stated. “But the music will break through anyway. We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound.
“On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs — the dead silence. Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV.”
The Grammys is the latest show to pay homage to Ukraine, after the Academy Awards on March 28, briefly acknowledged the invasion. At the Oscars, the audience observed a moment of silence while a message of solidarity was flashed onscreen.
Some artists like Mila Kunis (Ukrainian by birth), and the Godfather maker Francis Ford Coppola, besides Robert Di Nero and Al Pacino made gesture in support of Ukraine and Jamie Lee Curtis mentioned the nation under attack. At the end of Legend’s musical tribute, millions of global viewers were encouraged to #StandUpForUkraine by donating at ForUkraine.com.
“Support us in any way you can. Any — but not silence,” Zelensky said. “Then peace will come to all our cities the war is destroying — Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol and others. They are legends already, but I have a dream of them living — and free, like you on the Grammy stage.”