Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance during the opening address at the 61st Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday and was met with a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd.
Grammy host Alicia Keys kicked off the show by inviting Obama, 55, along with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez, to share personal anecdotes about how music has changed their lives and empowered them as women.
Obama, wearing a shimmering, silver suit, was briefly interrupted as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause at the beginning of her comments.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said, referring to the Chicago neighbourhood where she grew up.
Obama is currently touring to promote her memoir “Becoming,” which was released in the United States and in 28 languages around the world. She and her husband, former U.S. President Barack Obama, signed deals for a book apiece with Penguin Random House a month after Obama left office in January 2017.
“Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys,” Obama said. “It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in.”
Obama’s recently published memoir, “Becoming,” quickly became a best-seller and has become one of the most popular books of the decade. Obama has sold out arenas on her massive international book tour, where she has been interviewed on stage by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Jessica Parker and former Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, among others.
Obama posted on Twitter after the Grammy appearance, “A big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—that’s why I was thrilled to be there for the one and only Alicia Keys at the GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!”