The Most Powerful Performance at the Grammys was (Surprisingly) Not Beyonce’s.

get elephant's newsletter

The image of Beyonce’s momma belly (and look at those thighs!) may have done as much for pop culture’s acceptance of Momma Body as any since Demi. But there was more:
There was this…

And then there was this:

‘Cause #WeThePeople. ✊ #Grammys (📷: Christopher Polk)

A photo posted by VibeMagazine (@vibemagazine) on

The revolution will most definitely be televised.

And during “Music’s Biggest Night,” the revolution came in the form of a legendary hip hop group and their impassioned plea for resistance.

I’ve been a Tribe Called Quest fan since 1990’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. I was seven and had absolutely no idea how politically and socially aware their music was. All I knew was I liked the beats and “Bonita Applebum” was fun to say.

Fast forward 27 years to last night, when the remaining Tribe members, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (the late Phife Dawg passed away in March 2016) were joined onstage by rapper Busta Rhymes and first-time Grammy nominee Anderson .Paak to perform “Can I Kick It?” and “Award Tour”—one of my personal favorites—plus “Movin’ Backwards” and “We the People,” from their politically-charged 2016 album, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service.

I knew their performance would be entertaining. I knew it would be socially conscious.

I didn’t know it would leave me cheering—and in tears.

As “We the People” began, Busta Rhymes made a clear, no holds barred statement regarding our current president’s actions:

“I just wanna thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating through the United States.”

Scenes from protests played on giant screens, while a diverse group of extras marched on stage—many wearing hijabs.

Seeing these people, some who looked like me and my friends and my family, stand on that stage in solidarity was more than I was prepared to handle emotionally.

But the tears came as Q-Tip rapped the chorus:

All you Black folks, you must go
All you Mexicans, you must go
And all you poor folks, you must go
Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways
So all you bad folks, you must go

This is the world we live in.

This is the world my sisters will soon be bringing their babies into.

This is the world I hope to avoid bringing my future children into.

So I’m grateful for artists, activists and everyday people who aren’t afraid to rebel against the system. People who use their voice to fight for freedom and humanity.

People who will bravely stand in front of the world, fists raised, and chant “Resist! Resist! Resist!” with pride.



Author: Nicole Cameron

Image: @vibemagazine/Instagram; screenshot


Mindful Bonus: Waylon’s momma:

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Nicole Cameron

Nicole Cameron is a lover of words: the simple ones, the powerful ones, the made-up ones and those of the four-letter variety. She's also a fan of N.Y. style cheese pizza, hot and bendy yoga, trolling the internet for inspiration and singing loudly in the shower. Her purest, most-functional relationship to date is with her chocolate lab, Leopold. A native New Yorker, who also calls Maryland home, Nicole is a late-comer to the travel bug and plans to visit "all the places." She spends her days trying to live the mindful life, in part through her role as an editor for elephant journal, where she feels lucky to connect with others and search for answers. Oh, and chocolate—she likes that too. Want more words? Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.