Matthews was joined by a number of A-list artists, including Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, who performed with The Roots, and Ariana Grande.
Williams, whose set list included his hits “Freedom” and “Happy,” as well as his Daft Punk collaboration “Get Lucky,” made a pointed statement in reference to President Donald Trump’s controversial condemnation of NFL players who have kneeled during the national anthem as a form of protest.
Taking to one knee on stage, Pharrell said, “If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what this flag is for.”
Timberlake also made his own inspiring statement, letting his musical choices do the talking. The singer reportedly kicked off his set with a cover of Sam Cooke’s iconic 1964 civil rights ballad “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Matthews’ performance also featured an appearance by the great Stevie Wonder, and the two music legends performed John Lennon’s iconic anthem of hope, “Imagine.”
Among some of the night’s other big acts were musician Chris Stapleton, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, and Cage the Elephant.
Matthews was also joined on stage by Susan Bro, mother of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed by a white nationalist protester when he drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters during the Charlottesville rally.
Following the tragedy in August, many celebrities spoke out against Trump’s comments regarding the devastating incident, in which he accused “both sides” of violence during a press conference. See what some of them had to say in the video below.