Remember When Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau Sang a Song for Her Daughter, for MLK?

The most French Canadian thing to ever happen

30 November 2018, Argentina, Buenos Aires: Sophie Gregoire, wife of the prime minister of Canada, at...
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When Justin Trudeau was first elected in 2015, it was a turning point in Canadian history. First, a man named Justin was elected to rule a nation. Second, he’s considered hot by many. But more importantly, it was the first time in my life that the rest of the world was aware of Canada.

Nobody knows anything about Canadian politics outside of Canada, but everybody is supposed to know about American politics. I can name at least four American Congresspeople even though I don’t really know what Congress does, but I don’t think anyone could name one member of Parliament. Trudeau being elected as Prime Minister put us on a map; it was what everyone would ask me about when I’d leave Canada because it was all anyone knew about our country.

Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, is an interesting woman. Before marrying Trudeau, she was an entertainment television host and a personal shopper. When Justin got elected, they were everywhere. They were out there smooching in public, in VOGUE, embracing each other in a way that I didn’t ask to see. It quickly became clear through their media-humping and ample PDA that they were extremely lame.

But there was a moment in 2016, just a year into the Trudeau era, that sealed the couple, Sophie especially, as the lamest Canadians in history. For completely unknown reasons, Sophie sang an original song, a cappella, at a tribute for Martin Luther King, Jr. Please watch:

I remember when this video came out, I couldn’t watch it the whole way through. In fact I stopped at 49 seconds in, when she first shrugs her shoulders up. She introduces the song by saying, “I’m going to sing you a song that I wrote for my daughter Ella Grace, at a moment where I was going through a difficult time.” She provided no additional context as to why she decided to perform this ballad at an event honoring MLK, but after watching the video so many times that I can sing her profound lyrics by heart, I can only imagine that she believed this was a soulful ballad appropriate to sing for honouring a black man at a community event.

I only recently found the courage to watch this work of art till the end, and I realize now that we didn’t spend enough time really talking about how crazy this song is. All Canadians know French Canadians are capable of this level of secondhand embarrassment and psychotic hubris, but this is still a standout performance. Each time I watch it, there’s something new to focus on. Some thoughts:

  • It’s very clear she can hear music in her own head every time she closes her eyes and goes “mmm-hmmm,” but what does it sound like? I need to know. I believe because of the nature of the event, there may be a black choir aspect.
  • Is she a “bad” singer? I don’t know. If I saw her at karaoke, I’d probably be like “Oh she’s fun!”
  • I want to take a moment and appreciate this line, because I think it gives us a glimpse into her mindset: “I know that good will prevail/and I could conquer the world/with the love that I feel/when you smile back at me.” What were the forces of evil she was singing about? Am I weirdly endeared by her?
  • What could she have been going through to make her doubt angels can fly?
  • Based on the lyrics alone, I believe this has a lot to do with her understanding her role as a Prime Minister’s wife, something she will eventually write a memoir about when she and Justin divorce.
  • Considering the origins of this masterwork, I would like to imagine she sang it one night while also screaming “I love you my child” at Ella Grace towards the end of the song.

I don’t really have any solid proof to this theory, but I do believe that after this impromptu performance, her handlers scaled back her public appearances. And that’s the greatest tragedy of all — we’ve been robbed of so many performances. To think what might have been.

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