GRAMMYs Performers Get Serious: Address 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Protests and Domestic Violence

By
Getty Images
The GRAMMYs are all about two things: Celebrating musical accomplishments and solving all of the country's problems?
At this year's GRAMMY Awards, the stars, celebs and special guests got socially conscious, and in more ways than just the somber tone of almost every performance.

PHOTOS: See the 2015 GRAMMY Award Winners!
From police brutality to domestic violence, a number of important social issues were thrust into the spotlight. Here's a look at the seven GRAMMY presenters who tried to raise awareness of the issues closest to their hearts.
1. Pharrell Williams: R&B singer/producer Pharrell Williams traded in his cadre of excitable dancing children for a group to adults wearing black hoodies and raising their hands in the air for his strikingly different performance of "Happy." It was a reference to the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" protest gesture, originating in the wake of Michael Brown's fatal shooting in Ferguson, Mo. last year.
2. Beyonce: The "Drunk in Love" singer, who snagged a GRAMMY award this year for Best R&B Performance, closed out the show with her rendition of "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," a song off the soundtrack of Selma. A number of her choir-inspired backup dancers also had their hands raised, in solidarity with the "Hands Up" protesters.
3. Prince: The music icon presented the award for Album of the Year, and he kicked off his presentation by saying, "Albums still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter."
4. Common and John Legend: The "Glory" singers took the stage after Beyonce's choir-themed performance, and Common did his part to subtly raise awareness of police brutality and institutional racism by holding up his hands in the "Don't Shoot" protest gesture that was demonstrated throughout the program.
5. President Barack Obama: The U.S. president recorded an anti-domestic violence PSA which screened during the GRAMMY ceremony. In the video, Obama says, "It's on us, all of us, to create a culture where violence isn't tolerated, where survivors are supported and where all our young people, men and women, can go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them."
6. Brooke Axtell: Before Katy Perry took the stage, she invited Brooke Axtell to present her live performance. Axtell introduced herself as a survivor of domestic violence, and in her emotional speech elicited supportive cheers from the crowd. "Authentic love does not devalue another human being," she said. "Authentic love does not silence shame or abuse."
7. Katy Perry: The "Dark Horse" singer gave a powerful, emotional performance of her song "By the Grace of God," and it's simple presentation and costuming was a far cry from her explosive Super Bowl halftime show performance. The song, which has a darker tone and lyrics than most of Perry's tracks, was introduced by domestic violence survivor Brooke Axtell and went a long way towards raising awareness of the drastically important issue.
Which GRAMMYs performance was your favorite?