The opening performance of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards featured a busy stage production with a robust set and dozens of dancers. So it was easy to miss the political message hidden among the colorful costumes and choreography.
During Camila Cabello, J Balvin and Ricky Martin’s performance of “Havana,” an extra sat on a bench reading a prop newspaper with the headline, “Build bridges not walls.”
The group of performers was an international one: Cabello was born in Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. as a child, Martin is Puerto Rican and reggae singer Balvin hails from Colombia. Cuban trumpet player Arturo Sandoval was also featured in the number.
The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of the newspaper appeared to be a direct commentary on President Donald Trump’s ongoing demands for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. As the President continues negotiations with Congress, the U.S. may yet enter a second government shutdown over the impasse.
Ricky Martin, the king of Latin pop behind “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and a two-time Grammy winner, has used his platform to voice political opinions in the past. The artist, who is openly gay, has advocated for gay marriage and LGBTQ rights and hosted a fundraiser for President Obama in 2012.
“Havana” was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 2019 Grammys, and Cabello’s eponymously named album was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album.
More Must-Reads From TIME
- Meet the 2024 Women of the Year
- Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing
- East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment
- The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap
- Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does
- Column: The New Antisemitism
- The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time
Write to Rachel E. Greenspan at email@example.com