Following a comedic introduction in which James Corden jokingly prepared the crowd for Kanye West (who was absent from this year’s Grammys), Recording Academy president Neil Portnow walked on stage to deliver his annual — and this year, political — remarks.
This year, his speech touched on timely issues such as the current threat to both arts and education under a Trump presidency. Portnow first cited former President John F. Kennedy as saying, “The life of the arts is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose,” before declaring that is why “we must be so loud and clear” when it comes to uniting together in support and preservation of such.
“The Recording Academy together with the music makers call on the President and congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education and renewing America’s commitment to the arts,” Portnow said. “We have a collective responsibility to preserve what binds us.”
Watch a clip from his speech below.