American Music Awards

Green Day singer leads anti-Trump chants

Hosts of the American Music Awards Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah took a dig at President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania while Green Day's frontman Billie Joe Armstrong (above) slammed Mr Trump during the band's performance.
Hosts of the American Music Awards Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah took a dig at President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania while Green Day's frontman Billie Joe Armstrong (above) slammed Mr Trump during the band's performance.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Hosts of the American Music Awards Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah (both above) took a dig at President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania while Green Day's frontman Billie Joe Armstrong slammed Mr Trump during the band's performance.
Hosts of the American Music Awards Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah (both above) took a dig at President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania while Green Day's frontman Billie Joe Armstrong slammed Mr Trump during the band's performance.PHOTO: REUTERS
Ariana Grande won the Artist of the Year award.
Ariana Grande won the Artist of the Year award.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Green Day led a furious chant against President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday at the American Music Awards, where Ariana Grande proved her superstar status by taking the top prize.

On a stage full of pyrotechnics, the punk rockers turned their recent song Bang Bang into an anti-Trump chant on the televised show. "No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!" frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, a vocal Trump critic, shouted.

The American Music Awards are based on voting by fans.

Grande, 23, won the top award of Artist of the Year. She teamed up with rapper Nicki Minaj for a steamy act. They performed their collaboration Side To Side on a jungle-themed stage with topless male dancers.

Up for a record 13 awards, rapper Drake won four, dominating the rap categories.

Sting, presented with a lifetime achievement award, performed a medley from Police classics Message In A Bottle and Every Breath You Take to a song off his new album. The "Englishman in New York" made what might have been a veiled reference to the political climate as he described rock 'n' roll as "perhaps America's greatest and most influential export".

Rock music has been "always open to all colours in the spirit of welcome and inclusion", he said. "A mixing of culture, of rhythm and passion is what made this country the greatest country in the world."

Other Trump references were peppered throughout the show, including by co-host, model Gigi Hadid, who imitated Mrs Melania Trump and mocked the Michelle Obama plagiarism incident.

Imitating Mr Trump's booming voice, co-host Jay Pharoah said: "I love Bruno Mars. I don't know what colour he is, so I can't deport him," (Mars is a Hawaiian-born star, whose heritage includes Puerto Rican and Filipino roots.)

Selena Gomez, who won Favourite Female Artist, made a public return after halting her tour in August, saying she needed to care for depression and anxiety that were side effects of lupus.

"I had to stop because I had everything and I was absolutely broken inside," Gomez, 24, said as she fought back tears. "I don't want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what's in here," she said with her hand on her heart.

Prince's sister Tyka Nelson accepted the soundtrack award for the pop icon's 1984 album Purple Rain, which was again eligible as it returned to the charts following his death in April. Best New Artist went to Zayn, formerly of One Direction.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Green Day singer leads anti-Trump chants'. Print Edition | Subscribe