The 59th Grammy Awards were home to multiple politically charged performances and speeches, but there was also seemed to be a subtler form of resistance during the show: pantsuits.
Gowns are the traditional garb for women at high-class award shows like the Grammys. But this year, a number of women at the show went a different route sporting pants and jackets — even if they were low-cut, like gowns often are.
Katy Perry‘s pantsuit was probably the most notable of the evening, as the pop singer changed out of her gold-and-fur dress from the Grammys red carpet. Her white pantsuit was a semi-subtle addition to her politically charged performance. She sang her song “Chained to the Rhythm” while wearing an arm band with the word “Persist” printed on it. At the end of the song, she shouted “No hate!” while standing with Skip Marley in front of a huge screen showing the beginning of the U.S. Constitution.
Apart from Perry, Alicia Keys was among the artists who chose to wear pants rather than a dress during her performance. Halsey took the stage wearing a low-cut jacket and pants, as well.
The pantsuit has long been a symbol associated with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Though Clinton lost the presidency to Donald Trump, the symbol of the pantsuit lives on. And the response across the country to Trump’s agenda, including executive orders, has been protest. That includes the huge Women’s March in Washington D.C., which saw a higher attendance than Trump’s inauguration.
Perry’s performance also referenced Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s moment this week during the Senate confirmation vote for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell censured Warren for reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King in 1986, when she opposed Sessions’ nomination as a federal judge.
McConnell’s statement about Warren, which ended with the phrase, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” became a symbol of resistance and a feminist rallying cry.
The current political climate saw a number of anti-Trump performances and speeches during the Grammys. Following Warren’s censure, following the Women’s March, and with many responses to Trump’s executive order suspending travel from seven majority Muslim countries, it seems impossible to guess that the uptick in pantsuits at the Grammys is a response to current events.