Watch the performance below if you haven’t seen it yet.1
1) The decision to include straight couples in the mass weddings seems like a choice made to soften the impact of the image of gay marriages on national TV. In turn this reduces the impact of the performance as a political statement. Last I checked no one is trying to prevent straight people from getting married. If your response to this is “The point of the song is that marriage is for everyone, gay and straight,” then I think you might have a real misunderstanding of the social problem of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Also, that actually may be the message that Macklemore intends, which speaks to the issues with using this song as some kind of protest song. And when you think about it, it speaks to the problem of gay marriage as the principal LGBTQ issue in the public’s mind.
2) I saw the West coast broadcast so it wasn’t live and I don’t know how it played out on live TV. However it was obvious that on the broadcast that I saw, the editor/director made sure to show as little physical affection between same sex couples as possible. Every time a same sex couple would move in for a kiss, the camera would cut away abruptly to Macklemore or Queen Latifah. I can’t emphasize how super shitty this is. Basically, someone took a giant crap all over the political statement that the song was making. Whether it was for personal beliefs or whether it was in the interest of avoiding angry phone calls or emails – it shows that even with more and more states legalizing gay marriage, we are no where near where we want to be on this issue. If something as simple as two newly married people kissing each other immediately after getting married is still something that needs to be edited out of a national television broadcast, then we as a culture are still discriminating based on who you want to make out with.
I promise that I’m not just trying to shit on a shitty rapper.2 After all, it was nice that some kind of social justice issue was engaged with at all on national TV. But what should have been a very nice and touching moment was marred by CBS’s desire to ‘sanitize’ the broadcast, so you know, eff those a-holes.
Bonus thought on Grammys unrelated to Macklemore’s performance as political statement – Macklemore3 winning best rap album over Kendrick Lamar is like a poop on rye winning best sandwich over the Monte Cristo.