At tonight’s Grammy Awards, Queen Latifah will officiate the on-stage mass weddings of 34 couples, including gay couples.
At the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, pop’s megastars will compete for the music industry’s most prestigious trophy, and put on flashy performances that are sure to ricochet through social media. But the producers behind the program, which is to be broadcast live by CBS at 8 p.m., are hoping that the biggest show-stopper of the night will be a much more solemn event: an on-air wedding of 34 couples — gay, straight, old, young, of many races and many colors. The ceremony will be part of the hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s performance of their Grammy-nominated song “Same Love,” which became a marriage-equality anthem last year just as that issue was drawing intense national attention.
The segment follows what the Grammy organizers said was the show’s long history of addressing timely social issues through music, like Elton John’s duet in 2001 with Eminem, who was then widely criticized as homophobic. “We’re serious about this,” said Ken Ehrlich, the longtime producer of the Grammys. Yet as part of a televised awards show that works hard for its ratings, showbiz will also play a part in this sacrament. Queen Latifah will officiate at the nuptials, and Madonna will join the number with Macklemore, Mr. Lewis and the song’s featured vocalist, Mary Lambert. Grammy organizers said they knew that controversy might be inevitable, given those who oppose gay marriage or who might see the segment as trivializing a serious matter.
Tomorrow’s sadz will be thunderous. The biggest question I have is whether Queen Latifah will use the occasion to finally come out.