First Lady Jill Biden honored an “anthem” of the protests in Iran Sunday night as she presented a new Grammy Award recognizing songs that address social change.
“A song can unite, inspire, and ultimately change the world,” Biden said to a standing ovation as she took the stage at the 65th annual Grammys in Los Angeles.
“Beginning this year, the Recording Academy is presenting a new award recognizing a song that responds to the social issues of our time and has the potential for positive global impact,” Biden said, as she introduced the new Best Song for Social Change category,
Biden said a committee selected this year’s winner, Iranian singer and songwriter Shervin Hajipour, from more than 130,000 submissions in the special merit category.
The first lady described Hajipour’s song, “Baraye,” as a “powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights.” The 25-year-old musician was arrested after a video of the song was viewed more than 40 million times on Instagram in less than two days amid the women-led, anti-government protests in Iran.
“Congratulations, Shervin,” Biden said, “and thank you for your song.”
Biden also presented the Grammy for Best Song to Bonnie Raitt for “Just Like That.”
It’s not the first time a first lady has made an appearance at the annual music awards gala. In 2019, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the Grammys, taking to the stage alongside Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez.