Kesha and Lady Gaga give powerful Time's Up performances at 60th Annual Grammy Awards; Benj Pasek, LCD Soundsystem among LGBTQ winners

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards took place Sunday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City and several artists delivered powerful statements about sexual harassment, immigration, and the overall state of America. Throughout the night, the LGBTQ community was well-represented on stage and among the winners.

One of the night's most powerful moments took place midway through the broadcast when Kesha, who was up for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance (and who also identifies as bisexual) took the stage alongside Julia Michaels, Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Camila Cabello, and Bebe Rexha, for an emotional performance of her single "Praying." The Grammy-nominated song is widely considered to be about her ongoing sexual harassment accusations against producer Dr. Luke. Janelle Monae gave a moving speech about the Time's Up movement before introducing the performance.

Out songwriter and GLAAD board member Justin Tranter, who was nominated for Song of the Year for “Issues” with his songwriting partner Julia Michaels, wore the GLAAD ampersand pin on the Grammys red carpet, which represents the Together Movement, a symbol of solidarity with other marginalized communities. Justin, along with many other celebs, also wore white roses in support of the Time’s Up movement.

Earlier in the evening, Lady Gaga shouted out the Time’s Up movement in-between her ballad performances of "Joanne" and "Million Reasons."

Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a high-energy politically-charged performance of "XXX" which riled up the crowd.

"America, God bless you if it's good to you... Donald Trump's in office, we lost Barack / And promised to never doubt him again / But is America honest or do we bask in sin?” he rapped. He was later joined by U2 for a performance of their collaboration, "American Soul."

Later in the broadcast, U2 performed their ode to immigrants, "Get Out of Your Own Way," on a barge on the Hudson River in front of the Statue of Liberty. Camila Cabello introduced the band with a touching speech about her roots as a "proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant."

Beyond Kesha and Lady Gaga, several LGBTQ performers graced the Grammys stage. Midway through the show, gay singing legend Elton John performed his hit song "Tiny Dancer," accompanied by Miley Cyrus. Out performer Sam Smith performed his new song "Pray" earlier on in the broadcast.

Of additional particular interest to the LGBTQ community, Tony winners Ben Platt and Patti LuPone gave master class performances, of "Somewhere" (from "West Side Story") and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" (from "Evita") respectively.

Although only 10 categories are announced during the live broadcast, the winners of the remaining 74 categories were announced earlier in the evening. One of the first LGBTQ winners was musical theater songwriter Benj Pasek, who along with songwriting partner Justin Paul, won the Best Musical Theater Album category for the soundtrack to the hit Broadway show “Dear Evan Hansen.”

LCD Soundsystem won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording for “Tonite.” Gavin Russom, who plays synths in the band, identifies as transgender.

The late Carrie Fisher, an ally for many years to the LGBTQ community, won a posthumous Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for “The Princess Diarist.” Carrie presented the Vanguard Award to her stepmother Elizabeth Taylor at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000. 

"La La Land" won a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. The album's music supervisor Steven Gizicki is an out gay man.

Other LGBTQ nominees in 2018 included Kehlani, Sia, and country songwriter Shane McAnally.

Bruno Mars swept the night in the four largest categories, winning for Album of the Year ("24K Magic"), Record of the Year ("24K Magic"), and Song of the Year ("That's What I Like"). LGBTQ ally Alessia Cara won for Best New Artist.

It was the first time the Grammys had returned to the city after calling Los Angeles home for many years. The ceremony will return to LA again in 2019.

For a full list of winners, head to