He also addressed the tear-inducing wedding in his Instagram post: “And to play Same Love on that platform was a career highlight. The greatest honor of all. That’s what this is about. Progress and art.”
The performance/wedding included Queen Latifah officiating for 33 couples and an appearance by Madonna, and played out in front of 28.5 million viewers, the second largest television audience since 1993, according to preliminary Nielsen Company ratings. It brought tears to the eyes of not only participants but also stars like Keith Urban and Katy Perry, who were on their feet for the emotional moment.
“It’s just beyond, it’s the pinnacle, it’s the apex,” producer Lewis said afterward of the night. “So to be up here and more importantly to be able to celebrate ‘Same Love’ and have the marriages onstage — my sister getting married tonight as well — was phenomenal. So, amazing.”
The moment was potentially divisive in a nation wrestling with social issues, something The Recording Academy’s president, Neil Portnow, acknowledged afterward. But he said it wasn’t a political stand for the academy. It was a chance to help artists portray their music in the way they want.
“These folks wrote incredible songs and they have ideas about society and tolerance and fairness, and that’s their message,” Portnow said. “So our job is to set a platform where they can express themselves. ... We sit and discuss and talk about these things and try to find the right way to present the ideas, and frankly we’re just very proud of what happened tonight. I think it’s as elegant and as meaningful and as powerful as we wanted it to be.”