61st Grammy Awards – Show – Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 10, 2019 – Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, former first lady Michelle Obama and Jada Pinkett Smith. REUTERS/Mike Blake
(Reuters) – Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance during the opening address at the 61st Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday and was met with a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd.
Grammy host Alicia Keys kicked off the show by inviting Obama, 55, along with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez, to share personal anecdotes about how music has changed their lives and empowered them as women.
Obama, wearing a shimmering, silver suit, was briefly interrupted as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause at the beginning of her comments.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said, referring to the Chicago neighborhood where she grew up.
Obama is currently touring to promote her memoir “Becoming,” which was released in the United States and in 28 languages around the world. She and her husband, former U.S. President Barack Obama, signed deals for a book apiece with Penguin Random House a month after Obama left office in January 2017.
“Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys,” Obama said. “It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in.”
Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot