Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise appearance at the 2022 Grammys on Monday, April 4 (Philippine time), urging support for his country and asking the industry's top artists to "fill the silence" brought by war with music.
Zelensky delivered his pre-taped message ahead of a performance from John Legend of the song Free, joined by Ukrainian singer Mika Newton, musician Siuzanna Iglidan and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk.
"What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people," Zelensky said.
"Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals—even to those who can't hear them. But the music will break through anyway."
"We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound," he said.
"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."
His appearance on music's biggest night in the United States comes as global outrage at accusations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine mounts, with the discovery of mass graves and corpses in towns near Kyiv.
Zelensky has directly blamed leaders in Moscow for the "torture" and "killings" of civilians.
"Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can—any, but not silence," he said in his Grammy message. "And then peace will come."
"To all our cities the war is destroying—Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol, and others: They are legends already, but they have a dream of them living, and free."
"Free like you, on the Grammy stage." (AFP)