Green Day leads anti-Trump protests at American Music Awards | Music | DW | 21.11.2016
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American Music Awards

Green Day leads anti-Trump protests at American Music Awards

The American Music Awards turned political on Sunday as performers spoke out against President-elect Donald Trump and his incoming administration. Drake, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande were the night's big winners.

Backed by pyrotechnics, punk rockers Green Day turned their performance of "Bang Bang" into an anti-Trump anthem at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, with frontman Billie Joe Armstrong shouting "No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!"

They weren't the only artists to take aim at incoming president Donald Trump in the live broadcast. Comedian Jay Pharoah and model Gigi Hadid, the co-hosts of the awards, made several jabs, with Pharoah cracking that Trump must have enjoyed that evening's performance of Hawaiian-born singer Bruno Mars, who has Puerto Rican and Filipino roots.

"I love Bruno Mars. I don't know what color he is, so I can't deport him," Pharoah said, imitating Trump's booming voice.

British pop star Sting, who was presented with a lifetime achievement award, made what may have been a veiled reference to the incoming Trump administration when he said that rock music has been "always open to all colors in the spirit of welcome and inclusion.

USA American Music Awards 2016 Sting (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Sayles)

Sting was presented with a lifetime achievement award

"A mixing of culture, of rhythm and passion is what made this country the greatest country in the world," he said.

Events across the country also had stars talking after the cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" addressed their concerns about a Trump presidency to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who attended a performance of the hit show on Saturday in New York.

Speaking ahead of the awards, Broadway star Idina Menzel said the theater is the perfect place to provoke thought.

"It's the right place and it's beautiful and that's what theater's all about: It's about being thought-provoking," said Menzel. "And it's just unfortunate that someone who's going to be our president doesn't embrace that as freedom of speech and the arts, and sort of celebrate that moment... I'm really proud of all my friends in 'Hamilton' and I thought it took a lot of courage."

Grande, Drake top the night

USA American Music Awards 2016 Ariana Grande (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Sayles)

Nicki Minaj (center) and Ariana Grande (second from left) performed one of the night's most talked about numbers

The evening featured performances from many top acts, including Justin Bieber, One Direction's Niall Horan in a solo turn, the Weeknd, Lady Gaga, John Legend and a collaboration between rapper Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande, who was named artist of the year.

Grande, who beat out Adele, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Bieber for the top prize, shook as she accepted the top prize.

"With or without this, I love you from the bottom of my heart," she said to her fans.

Chart-topping Canadian rapper Drake, who was up for a record 13 awards, ended up dominating the rap categories, taking home four awards including favorite rap artist, album and song, for "Hotline Bling." Pop star Justin Bieber also took home four awards.

Prince's 1984 "Purple Rain" album, which has rebounded in the charts after his death in April, won top soundtrack. His sister, Tyka Nelson, cried as she collected his award.

"We'll keep this for you at Paisley Park until we see you again," she said. "This is for you."

The American Music Awards are based on fan votes, unlike the more prestigious Grammys, which are decided by a poll of industry leaders. The Grammys will take place on February 12.

Watch video 02:44

USA: Anger and protests after Trump's election

cmk/kbm (AP, AFP)

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