Kendrick Lamar opens Grammys with powerful performance

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attends Rihanna’s 3rd Annual Diamond Ball Benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 14, 2017 in New York City.

Kendrick Lamar earned a standing ovation for his powerful, political opening performance at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.

The rapper was joined by U2’s Bono and The Edge, along with comedian Dave Chappelle, for medley of his songs that included “XXX” and “King’s Dead.”

The performance included a giant American flag and dancers in hoodies, who collapsed to the sound of gunshots as Lamar rapped.

“I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man being honest in America, is being an honest black man in America,” Chappelle said.

The first award of the televised portion of the Grammys, best rap/sung performance, went to Lamar and Rihanna for their single “Loyalty.”

The rapper thanked Rihanna, who appeared on stage with him.

“She came through and gassed me on that record,” Lamar said. “This really belongs to her.”

Lamar and Bruno Mars were among the early winners at the Grammy Awards.

The two stars won three awards each during the pre-telecast on Sunday.

Lamar won Grammys for best rap performance, best rap album and best music video for his hit, “Humble.”

Mars swept up awards for best R&B performance, best R&B song and best R&B album.

The two artists are among the nominees for best album, along with JAY-Z for “4:44,” “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino and “Melodrama” by Lorde.

Related: The 60th annual Grammy nominations are here

The late Carrie Fisher was also an early winner.

The “Star Wars” actress, who died at the age of 60 in 2016, posthumously won the best spoken word album Grammy for her audiobook recording of her 2016 memoir, “The Princess Diarist.”

Related: Carrie Fisher wins Grammy posthumously

Grammy host James Corden, Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire are among the stars who arrived to the ceremony either wearing or carrying a white rose, symbolizing support for the Time’s Up campaign against sexual misconduct across industries.

Related: Kelly Clarkson, more to wear white roses to the Grammys for Time’s Up

McEntire won an early Grammy for best roots gospel album for, “Sing It Now: Songs Of Faith & Hope.”

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

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