Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States, presented the inaugural Song for Social Change Special Merit Award to Iranian singer-songwriter Shervin Hajipour at the 2023 Grammy Awards.
“A song can unite, inspire and ultimately change the world,” Biden said. “I am honored to announce the first winner of the Recording Academy’s best song for social change to Shervin Hajipour.”
He received the honor for his hit “Baraye,” a protest song he wrote that became an anthem of protests across Iran as people longed for change. Biden said a video of the song that appeared on his Instagram was viewed more than 40 million times in less than 48 hours. She added, “This song became the anthem of the Mahsa Amini protests, a powerful and poetic poem for freedom and women’s rights.”
Shortly after the song went viral in 2022, Hajipour was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence. He is currently released on bail as he awaits trial.
“This song continues to resonate around the world with its powerful theme – women like freedom,” Biden concluded. “Congratulations Shervin and thank you for your song.”
Out of submissions from more than 130,000 people, “Baraye” was selected by a blue ribbon committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.
This wasn’t the only politically tinged moment during the 2023 Grammys. Other political commentaries at the ceremony involved jokes surrounding the Chinese balloon, Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. George Santos.
As Bad Bunny, who won best música