The 57th Grammys were, well, just that. The Grammys. As usual the show offered interesting entertainment covering a broad spectrum of performers, genres, and artists. Depending upon your perspective, there’s no doubt that you were entertained by something during that show as we usually all are.

However, last night’s show was interesting from another angle. There was a conspicuous “uninvited guest” who showed up. You see, there is one guest who is rarely invited to entertainment and sporting events although the guest has been known to crash the party if a political agenda, for example, calls for it. The reason why the guest is not invited is because it does not fit with the theme of the party which is entertainment and escapism. That guest is commonly known as reality. In fact, reality is usually the reason why we flock to entertainment to begin with. So, it makes sense that we like to keep the two separated as much we can. You know, kind of like calculus homework in Disney World. They just don’t go together.

This “uninvited guest” can go by many names such as homelessness, politics, religion, gay marriage, or similar topics. At last night’s Grammys the guest was domestic violence and it was introduced by Brooke Axtell (writer and activist) just ahead of Katy Perry performing the moving By The Grace Of God. In case you missed what Brooke said it went like this:

My name is Brooke Axtell and I am a survivor of domestic violence. After a year of passionate romance with a handsome, charismatic man, I was stunned when he began to abuse me. I believed he was lashing out because he was in pain, and needed help. I believed my compassion could restore him and our relationship. My empathy was used against me. I was terrified of him and ashamed I was in this position. What bound me to him was my desire to heal him. My compassion was incomplete because it did not include me. When he threatened to kill me, I knew I had to escape. I revealed the truth to my mom and she encouraged me to seek help at a local domestic violence shelter. This conversation saved my life. Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame, or abuse. If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honor or respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love. Please reach out for help. Your voice will save you. Let it extend into the night. Let it part the darkness. Let it set you free to know who you truly are. Valuable. Beautiful. Loved.

From my vantage point in watching the show I could not help but notice that before Brooke got past “I am a survivor” that everyone around me looked up with that “who is this and what happened to her?” look. Refreshing I must say. That is because although I had seen this look before this time it was different. Typically, when the “uninvited guest” shows up the look is more like “did he/she really say this?” or, “shut up and play your instrument—we don’t care how you view this or that.” No. This time we actually paid attention to hear what Brooke had to say and the message was an important one.

It’s no secret that domestic violence is in the forefront in too many places in our society. It appears to rank as an up and coming plague in our most popular sport and maybe when Roger Goodell, the captain of that ship, realizes that you can’t steer a vessel from below deck he will right that ship. Domestic violence is also too leading in our news feeds. In the end, I think we can all agree that enough is enough regardless of whether it is man on woman, woman on man, or worst of all, adult on child.

So for this reason, I found Brooke’s speech to be my highlight of the evening. That gentle poke to let us know the guest had arrived was perfectly done, Brooke. And the follow up by Perry’s stirring anthem to the cause was equally as grand. Yes, indeed it was a great guest this year. I guess the only thing missing was an award of some sort; after all, it was the Grammys. But then again, maybe an “award” is not appropriate in this circumstance. How about simply a seat for this year’s “uninvited guest.” Perhaps stay a while and tell us what’s on your mind. Oh, and if the academy is out of seats I have one in my heart that is available.






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