President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an appearance at the 2022 Grammys from Ukraine. His appearance was broadcast in the form of a pre-recorded tape aired before John Legend’s tribute to the victims.

The night of the Annual Grammy Awards is, undoubtedly, music’s biggest night. Each year, the award show honours musical artists for their talent and hard work. And each year, the night is as emotional as it is exciting.

However, this year was particularly so. Two hours into the show, John Legend and the Recording Academy curated a performance to honour the lives of victims of the Ukraine-Russia war. But before the performance, President Zelenskyy addressed the crowd in the form of a pre-recorded tape.

Zelenskyy recorded the speech amid Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. Insiders also confirmed that he had done so within the last 48 hours at a bunker in Kyiv, the Ukranian capital.

In his speech, he spoke about the importance of music and its relation to war. Moreover, he also spoke about the importance of the world’s continued support of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy 's appearance at the Grammys

Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Zelenskyy’s Speech

“The war. What is more opposite of music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” he said. He further went on to remind the world about the haunting brutalities of war and invasion. He spoke about children: the war has injured over 400 children, and killed over 150.

Zelenskyy's speech at the Grammys

Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

“The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence,” he said.

Zelenskyy also used the stage of the Grammys to connect with his audience. His stories are haunting, and incredibly–tragically, true. He applauds medical professionals, civilians, and honours the wounded: “Our musicians wear body armour instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in the hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.”

He says Ukraine defends their freedom, their love, their lives, and their sound. “On our land, we are fighting Russia which brings horrible silence with its bombs,” he says. “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today. Tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks and TV. But not silence.”

The Performance

John Legend at the 2022 Grammys

Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Moreover, John Legend also performed his tribute to the victims, accompanied by three female Ukrainian artists: Siuzanna Iglidan, Mika Newton and Lyuba Yakimchuck. The trio–an instrumental musician, a singer, and a poet– had left their war-torn land only a day earlier. Iglidan played the bandura, which is considered a Ukrainian folk instrument, as well as the national instrument.

The Russian invasion and the Ukraine-Russia war is in its sixth week. Zelenskyy even said in his speech: “Indeed, this is genocide — the elimination of the whole nation and the people.”

He reminds the world to not stay silent. Furthermore, he used music to create a human connection with the world, reminding us of the importance of supporting Ukraine– and the consequences of not doing so: Children who aren’t allowed to be children, musicians who sing to the wounded. To us, it is a haunting story. A tragic tale. But for Ukrainians–and even for people of different nationalities in Ukraine–this is their reality.

“Tell our story,” he urges the world. “Tell the truth about the war on your social networks and TV. But not silence.”

Published by HOLR Magazine.