U.S. singer and actress Montana Tucker’s appearance at the Grammy music awards in Los Angeles this past Sunday was a powerful statement of activism and advocacy.
Wearing a dress adorned with a large yellow ribbon with the words “Bring Them Home” embroidered on it, Tucker, 31, brought global attention to the plight of over 130 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. In a special interview held a few days after the Grammys, Montana spoke to JNS and explained the motivation behind her statement.
“I’ve been to the Grammys before, but this was the first time that I was invited as an artist to be on the red carpet,” Tucker explained. “I knew that I would be surrounded by all of these celebrities, artists and people that I looked up to, and I realized that I had to do something and say something. I knew that most people wouldn’t make a statement about the hostages, so I needed to be the one to say something boldly.”
Tucker chose to make her statement by collaborating with a team of Israeli women based in L.A. Her dress was fashioned by Madebyila, a company run by Israeli designer Ortal Mizrahi, and her hair and makeup were done by Ortal Labrecque. “I told Ortal (Mizrahi) that I wanted to do something to honor the hostages with my look so I went into her shop, and we thought about it for a while and came up with this idea.”
The choice to wear her message on her dress left the TikTok megastar a bit apprehensive. “I was a bit scared because I was surrounded by so many people who are very high up in the industry,” she said. “I’m proud I had the bravery to do it. I knew my [Holocaust survivor] grandparents would be proud of my choice and that gave me the strength of mind to go through with it.”
The dress was quickly noticed and some of those running the event tried to stop Tucker from making her statement before arriving on the red carpet. “Someone from the recording academy came up to me and asked if I could remove the ribbon because it was too political, I told them no, and that it was sewn onto my dress,” Tucker recounted.
“I don’t see the symbol as anything political per se. There is nothing political about wanting the return of hostages who were taken against their will. They aren’t just Jewish hostages or even just Israelis. There are Arab hostages and foreign hostages as well. It doesn’t matter what your political opinions are, this is about the release of innocent people who were taken hostage, and they need to be released.”
Tucker was proud that she wasn’t alone. “[Producer] Harvey Mason Jr. came up to me and thanked me for doing this. There were also a few people wearing yellow pins on their jackets.”
Tucker’s move made waves around the globe as mainstream media outlets, as well as other social media influencers, picked up the photos and spread the story.
“What was meaningful to me was that shortly after the Grammys were over, representatives of the families of the hostages got in touch with me, as did some of the family members themselves, who I keep in contact with. They reached out to me to thank me and told me how supported they felt. That is when I realized that I succeeded at doing something important.”
Tucker is well known for her advocacy. She is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and said that her family’s story influences her activism. “Growing up I heard both of my grandparents’ stories from the Holocaust. Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with my grandparents,” she said.
“When they went through the war they didn’t have a voice. But thankfully now we do have a voice, and we should use it and stand up to what is going on. I don’t feel that there is another option for me other than to speak up. I hope that I have inspired some other people, even people who are in way bigger positions than me, to go out and do something and say something. Harvey Mason Jr. deserves a lot of credit for what he said and his mention of the Nova festival,” she added.
Tucker doesn’t limit her advocacy to Jewish causes, she attests to standing up and fighting for many causes, including Black Lives Matter, participating in marches and spreading the word via social media.
She has spoken out vociferously against the war in Ukraine, and she uses her voice to fight antisemitism in all of its forms. “I will continue to speak up about major issues until real change is made and until all of the hostages are released,” she told JNS.
When asked about her music career, the “Sunday Funday” and “Hola” star teased a new song that she has been working on, without giving away too many spoilers. “I’m working on new music and I have been recording behind the scenes, but I don’t have any release dates yet.”
Tucker added that her video content creation is also continuing at full pace. “I am always recording new dance videos, and I have a new movie coming out where I play a supporting role. It’s called “Mob Cops,” and I’m very excited about it. David Arquette is in it. Kevin Connoly from ‘Entourage’ is in it as well.”
Returning to discuss her fight against antisemitism, for which she was featured on NBC’s “Kelly Clarkson Show,” Tucker encouraged people to follow her journey of remembrance last year in Poland, which revolved around a trip to the concentration and death camps. Tucker filmed the journey and turned it into an educational docuseries about Holocaust remembrance entitled “How To Never Forget,” available on YouTube.
Tucker’s multifaceted career and dedication to advocacy underscore her commitment to making a difference both on and off the stage. Her message at the Grammys of “Bring Them Home,” which transcends political boundaries, serves as a reminder of the power of using one’s platform for a cause greater than oneself, inspiring others to take a stand and make their voices heard.