An Iranian singer-songwriter has won the inaugural award for Best Song For Social Change at the 2023 Grammys.
The category was introduced this year and seeks to honour songs that respond to current issues and have the potential for positive global impact.
More than 130,000 songs were submitted for the category, whose winner was decided by a blue ribbon committee.
Iranian singer-songwriter Shervin Hajipour was named the winner by First Lady Jill Biden at the ceremony in Los Angeles. Hajipour’s protest song ‘Baraye’ became a viral anthem during the recent protests in Iran, which were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old was held in custody by the morality police on the allegations of violating hijab rules at the time of her death.
‘Baraye’ racked up around 40million views online in 48 hours and was named after a hashtag that circulated as part of the protests.
Hajipour was arrested after the song went viral. He is currently out on bail and awaiting trial. He has not yet commented on the win.
Coldplay covered ‘Baraye’ during a concert in Buenos Aires last year. “We’re going to sing a song that right now is being sung by many people in Iran,” frontman Chris Martin said while introducing the song.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen on the news, but young women and young people are fighting for their freedom, for the right to be themselves. We believe as a band everyone should be free to be themselves, as long as you don’t hurt anybody else. We fully send our love and support to those brave young people fighting for their freedom.”
Elsewhere at the 2023 Grammys, Beyoncé has made history by becoming the most decorated artist at the ceremony. The star surpassed classical musician Georg Solti’s record of 31 Grammys tonight – and could still win more before the show is over.
Bad Bunny opened the show with a vibrant performance of two songs from ‘Un Verano Sin Ti’, while Migos’ Quavo honoured his late bandmate and nephew Takeoff during the In Memoriam segment. A star-studded celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary also took place, featuring LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and more.
Earlier tonight, Viola Davis achieved EGOT status with her Grammy win, while Kim Petras paid tribute to SOPHIE as she became the first trans woman to win Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Find out how to watch the ceremony here and keep checking back to NME.com for all the action as it happens.