Cardi B Diana Ross Drake Fashion Grammy Awards H.E.R. Hip-Hop Janelle Monae Lady Gaga Michelle Obama Music R&B Rap

From Cardi B to Drake, a night of come-ups, curves and side-eyes — The Undefeated

From Cardi B to Drake, a night of come-ups, curves and side-eyes — The Undefeated

No. Query.

Greatest acceptance speech goes to Drake. In a shock look, he picked up a trophy for greatest rap track (“God’s Plan”) in individual. He additionally delivered some robust phrases to the Recording Academy (previously the Nationwide Affiliation of Recording Arts and Sciences, or NARAS) about previous Grammy snubs.

“We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport. It isn’t the NBA.” — Drake

“Know we play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” Drake stated. “It isn’t the NBA. … This can be a enterprise the place typically it’s as much as a bunch of individuals which may not perceive what a mixed-race child from Canada has to say … or a brother from Houston … my brother Travis. You’ve already gained when you have people who find themselves singing your songs phrase for phrase, in case you are a hero in your hometown. If there’s individuals who have common jobs who’re popping out within the rain, within the snow, spending their hard-earned cash to purchase tickets to return to your exhibits, you don’t want this proper right here, I promise you. You already gained.” Good. He was, although, like so many, minimize off earlier than finishing his remarks.

Within the days earlier than the beleaguered present, which inched up in scores final night time, there was a number of social dialog about how the Grammys usually are not and haven’t traditionally been welcoming to black individuals and other people of shade.

So when it was reported by The New York Occasions simply days earlier than Sunday’s telecast of the Grammy Awards at Los Angeles’ Staples Middle that three of hip-hop’s largest superstars — Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Infantile Gambino — had turned down the chance to carry out at this yr’s present (Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift selected to not attend as properly), the message was fairly conspicuous, particularly on the heels of current Tremendous Bowl halftime efficiency anxieties.

Photograph by Kevin Mazur/Getty Pictures for The Recording Academy

“Once they don’t take house the large prize, the regard of the academy, and what the Grammys characterize, continues to be much less significant to the hip-hop group, which is gloomy,” Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich advised the Occasions. Certainly, a hip-hop act has not gained the much-coveted album of the yr trophy since Outkast for his or her sensible 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Under. Within the 61-year run of the Recording Academy’s celebration of musical excellence, the distinguished album of the yr has been gained by black artists solely 12 occasions, and, whereas he’s little question a beloved genius, Stevie Marvel is single-handedly chargeable for three of these wins: Innervisions (1974), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1975) and Songs within the Key of Life (1977). So sure, there was a lot drama heading into the ceremony.

What we quickly found, amongst different revelations, was that 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys must be given the perpetual reins to host the growing older music awards present, a lot in the identical method Billy Crystal did for the Oscars. She was that good, people. Additionally: Chloe x Halle, the sister duo who gave a pitch-perfect tribute to Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack with “The place Is the Love,” have a transformative cowl album inside them. Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been nowhere to be discovered at music’s largest night time to gather their award for greatest city modern album for Every part Is Love. But, whereas there have been some grand moments in black excellence, the Grammys nonetheless have critical work to do.

A second of Michelle Obama magic

Photograph by Kevin Mazur/Getty Photographs for The Recording Academy

“From the Motown data I wore out on the South Aspect …” That’s how she started. Perpetually first woman Michelle Obama’s shock look on the Grammys was so surreal that even the opposite legendary ladies who stood alongside her — Woman Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Keys and Jennifer Lopez — have been overwhelmed.

However Obama was immediately drowned out by applause from the gang. “All proper, you all, all proper, we acquired a present to do,” she stated with a smile. And but the assertion of girls’s power was just the start. Viewers witnessed a report 31 wins by ladies recording artists and a pointy acceptance speech by greatest new artist Dua Lipa, who took a dig at outgoing academy president Neil Portnow, who as soon as said that feminine artists ought to “step up” throughout final yr’s ceremony. Calling it an honor “to be nominated alongside so many unimaginable feminine artists this yr,” she jabbed, “I assume this yr we actually stepped up.” Ouch.

It’s Cardi’s world

Cardi B continued her fairy-tale run, snatching up rap album of the yr for her boss platinum debut Invasion of Privateness, thanking her daughter, Kulture, in addition to her husband, Offset of the Migos. “I’m sorry,” the Bronx, New York, rap queen stated, earlier than joking, “I simply, oh, the nerves are so dangerous. Perhaps I want to start out smoking weed.” Cardi B turned the primary solo lady to ever win the class and introduced the home down together with her piano-driven, chest-beating 808 anthem “Cash.” Rocking immaculate black peacock feathers and surrounded by a military of flapper-era dancers, Cardi earned a well-deserved standing ovation for her 1920s-inspired nod to Josephine Baker.

However Cardi B’s massive night time was almost overshadowed by a tweet from Ariana Grande, who posted the phrase “trash” together with some stinging expletives because the rapper beat out the singer’s ex-boyfriend, tremendously missed late hip-hop star Mac Miller. Grande, who gained her first Grammy for greatest pop vocal album, shortly deleted the tweet. Cardi B, nevertheless, responded on Instagram.

Woman Gaga turns it as much as 11

The primary award of the night time went to an emotional Woman Gaga, whose “Shallow” duet with actor Bradley Cooper gained greatest pop duo or group efficiency.

Photograph by Emma McIntyre/Getty Pictures for The Recording Academy

After which music’s most earnest ham, clad in a glittery jumpsuit, reworked “Shallow” right into a ’70s area rock exercise.

However can you play?

Photograph by Lester Cohen/Getty Photographs for The Recording Academy

Janelle Monáe got here out strapped … with a guitar. Inside her lustful “Make Me Really feel” have been echoes of the Purple One, Prince. But Monáe was not alone in her throwback musician bliss. Singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes began out on piano after which switched to guitar. A assured Ne-Yo tickled the ivories as properly throughout an in any other case practice wreck of a Motown tribute (extra on that later). Publish Malone strummed an acoustic guitar on his somber “Keep” earlier than becoming a member of the Purple Scorching Chili Peppers as if he’s already counting right down to the second he’s finished enjoying on the hip-hop aspect of the tracks. However there was one other artist who flexed probably the most spectacular expertise of the whole night time.

A star is born

Photograph by Lester Cohen/Getty Pictures for The Recording Academy

Think about Lalah Hathaway jamming with Prince Rogers Nelson whereas sporting cooler-than-cool shades. That’s the easiest way to explain the music of singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist and all-around badass H.E.R. The enigmatic newcomer not solely gained two awards, together with greatest rhythm and blues album for her self-titled EP, she gave maybe the night time’s most dynamic present with the empowering “Onerous Place.” Her seemingly easy soulful vocals have been backed by her cracking band — and violinists. And H.E.R. even shredded a translucent guitar, bringing the gang to its ft.

Infantile Gambino has the final snort

Infantile Gambino was a Grammys no-show. However that didn’t cease the renaissance man from taking residence two of the most important awards of the night time for “This Is America,” his surreal and sneering indictment of gun violence and institutional racism. Infantile Gambino, who paradoxically appeared in a Grammy advert for Google’s Playmoji, turned the primary hip-hop star to win report of the yr and music of the yr.

Dolly, Diana and Aretha

Three of music’s most revered figures acquired well-deserved tributes. For nation music crossover goddess Dolly Parton, who was joined onstage by Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Little Massive City and the night time’s different massive winner, Kacey Musgraves, it was yet one more reminder that past her bubbly, self-effacing picture, Parton is an excellent songwriting machine defying genres. Simply take a look at her string of classics, together with “Jolene,” “Right here You Come Once more,” “9 to five” and her 1974 gem “I Will All the time Love You,” which was given new life when Whitney Houston’s definitive cowl turned one of many best-selling singles of all time.

Photograph by Emma McIntyre/Getty Pictures for The Recording Academy

An all the time regal Diana Ross, floating by means of in a flowing purple gown whereas celebrating her 75th birthday, moved the viewers after a too-cute introduction by her 9-year-old grandson, Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick. “Younger individuals like me can look as much as her for her independence, confidence and willingness to be her distinctive self,” he stated, beaming. “She has proven the world that nothing is past our attain. So, women and gents, please welcome my grandmommy, Diana Ross.”

And that was an understatement. Ross launched into “The Greatest Years of My Life” and her solo signature basic “Attain Out and Contact (Any person’s Hand),” imploring the gang to “don’t be lazy” and to face up. With 70 hit singles and a string of main function movie roles — together with her haunting, Oscar-nominated 1972 portrayal of Billie Vacation in Woman Sings the Blues — Ross is the template for Houston, Janet Jackson, Lil Kim, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé.

Lastly, the late, nice Aretha Franklin was celebrated with a rousing tribute by powerhouses Yolanda Adams, Andra Day and Fantasia for a once-in-a-lifetime efficiency of “(You Make Me Really feel Like) A Pure Lady.” Some viewers balked on the concept of Franklin receiving only one music as tribute. “I’m sorry,” stated one poster. “Aretha Franklin is among the most if NOT probably the most adorned, gifted, influential artists within the historical past of music. The Grammys gave her a ONE music tribute. Trash #Grammys.” Temper.

Berry Gordy Weeps

When it was first introduced that Lopez can be participating in a Motown tribute, the information was met with bewilderment and jokes from the Black Twitter contingent. However to the astonishment of viewers, Jenny From the Block wasn’t merely a supporting participant in an already questionable manufacturing, she was the star garnering extra stage time than the aforementioned Ne-Yo and Smokey Robinson. JLo proved it’s certainly attainable to lip-sync off-key as she stumbled by way of such Motown hits as “Dancing within the Road,” “My Woman” and “Please Mr. Postman.”

Free 21 Savage!

Fifteen-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys ought to be given the perpetual reins to host the ageing music award present. She was that good.

There have been no loud shout-outs or phrases of encouragement for the British-born Atlanta native from his fellow rappers. 21 Savage continues to be being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for failing to depart beneath the phrases of his nonimmigrant visa. Travis Scott made no point out of his collaborator throughout his efficiency of “Cease Making an attempt to Be God” and the riotous “No Bystanders.” Publish Malone, who partly owes the immense success and the swagger of his career-making single “rockstar” to 21 Savage, apparently wore a 21 Savage T-shirt however was additionally silent. The primary point out of 21 Savage was made by Swedish “This Is America” producer Ludwig Göransson, who warmly said, “He must be right here.”

And album of the yr goes to …

Associated Tales

Nation singer-songwriter Musgraves, whose Golden Hour picked up the highest prize. No diss to Musgraves, a gifted voice who will shine for years to return. However for the Grammys, it was yet one more telling reminder that black artwork continues to be ignored in probably the most coveted classes.

Inform the Grammys f— that zero for eight s—, Jay-Z rhymed on “Apes—” in response to the academy nominating his sensible four:44 for eight awards in 2018. He left with no statuettes.


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The final black act to win album of the yr was celebrated jazz pianist Herbie Hancock in 2008, and that was for the star-studded Joni Mitchell tribute album River. Since then, Swift has gained the trophy twice, Adele beat out Beyoncé’s monumental 2016 Lemonade and Bruno Mars gained in 2018 for 24Okay Magic, his love letter to Teddy Riley’s new jack swing. It’s a frustration that Prince knew all too properly: His genre-busting 1987 double album Signal o’ the Occasions misplaced to U2’s The Joshua Tree.

“I don’t go to awards exhibits anymore,” Prince stated in a 1990 Rolling Stone interview. “I’m not saying I’m higher than anyone else. However you’ll be sitting there on the Grammys, and U2 will beat you. And also you say to your self, ‘Wait a minute. I can play that sort of music, too. … I understand how to try this, you dig? However you’ll not do ‘Housequake.’ ”

Grammys … do higher.

Keith “Murph” Murphy is a senior editor at VIBE Journal and frequent contributor at Billboard, AOL, and CBS Native. The veteran journalist has appeared on CNN, FOX Information and A&E Biography and can also be the writer of the lads’s way of life guide “Manifest XO.”

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