4 radical moments in Junos history, from Alanis Morissette to Rascalz
Artists take on representation, censorship and more.
The Junos are a time to celebrate Canada's greatest musicians, but it's also a place where artists can go to make a statement.
Over the years, artists have used their (literal) platform to share important messages with the million-plus viewers in the hopes of inspiring change and challenging perspectives.
Below are four amazingly radical and political moments from Junos history.
1995: Buffy Sainte-Marie shines a light on Indigenous artists and communities
When Buffy Sainte-Marie was inducted into the Hall of Fame, she honoured all the "remote communities" that may be overlooked by Canadians, especially touring musicians who often only hit up big cities. She also shouted out "all the grassroots Indian artists who haven't yet taken home a Juno, but who continue, as they have in the past, to capture our hearts at powwows across Canada, doing that magic which music does so well." (The Indigenous music album of the year award, then called the best music of Aboriginal Canada recording award, was first introduced the year before, in 1994.)
1999: Rascalz make hip-hop history at the Junos
After refusing to accept the award for best rap recording in 1998 because it wasn't a televised award, Rascalz returned in 1999 not only to perform their hit, "Northern Touch," but also accept their second consecutive best rap recording award on air. The group took the opportunity to address the media and its coverage of hip-hop, as featured artist Kardinal Offishall warned everyone onstage: "You've got to be serious with this hip-hop. This is no joke."
2004: Alanis Morissette takes on censorship
Alanis Morissette hosted the 2004 Juno Awards and in a funny bit, she addressed an incident in which a lyric of hers was censored in the U.S. She then praised Canada for being the "True North Strong and Censor-Free," but quickly learned that some of those same censorship problems also exist north of the border.
2017: Sarah McLachlan urges people to choose love over division and hatred
When Sarah McLachlan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017, she gave an impassioned speech that touched on female empowerment, diversity and the "scary times" we are still living in today, both socially and politically. "We need to remember to hold on to our light, out goodness, and strive to choose integrity and love over division and hatred."
Wherever you are on March 17, you can watch the Juno Awards live from Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont., at cbcmusic.ca/junos.