On Sunday, the Grammy Awards were presented at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The sudden death of Kobe Bryant cast a dark shadow over the festive event and resulted in several honors. Yet there was also reason to celebrate: Billie Eilish has crowned the great winner of the evening, and other women did very well.
The news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash hit like a bomb. Also, the guests of the Grammy Awards were very impressed and showed that clearly. Singer Lizzo opened the show with the announcement: “This evening is for Kobe”, after which she presented a medley of her hits ‘Cuz I Love You’ and ‘Truth Hurts’. Also, an emotional presenter Alicia Keys honored his memory. “Here we are all together, on the most important night for the music world, and we honor the artists who do it best. But to be honest, all we feel right now is an overwhelming sadness. We’re standing here with broken hearts in the house that made Kobe Bryant great. Kobe and his daughter Gianna are in our thoughts, hearts, and prayers. Let’s take a moment to share this and the family.” The organization found a tribute to Bryant in his place, because he was very popular in Los Angeles and played with the LA Lakers at the Staples Center for years.
Of course, there was also time for music. Billie Eilish – still only 18 years old – emerged as the big winner. She won no less than five Grammys, including the four most essential prizes: an album of the year (‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’), recording, and song of the year (‘Bad Guy’) and best new artist. This makes her the first musician since Christopher Cross in 1981 to win all four top prizes. And another record: she is the youngest artist ever to win album of the year. By the way, Billie also got to take home the award for the best pop vocal album. The singer was unusually humble when receiving the awards. Among other things, she stammered: “Why? Wow! Oh my God, so many other songs deserved this. I’m sorry!” And also, “I love all fandoms. You guys make this worthwhile.” Her brother Finneas, with whom she wrote the album, was crowned best producer. He said: “This is for all the children who make music in their bedroom today. One day you’ll get one of these”, on which he kept the trophy in the air.
Billie’s biggest competitor Lizzo won three awards: best solo pop performance (‘Truth Hurts’), best traditional R&B performance (‘Jerome’), and best urban contemporary album (‘Cuz I Love You’). Lil Nas X received two awards: best performance by a duo or group and best music video, both for ‘Old Town Road’. Nipsey Hussle, who passed away last year, also received his first Grammy Award posthumously for the song ‘Racks in the Middle’. Several members of the rapper’s family came on stage, including his grandmother. “I wanted to thank you all for showing the love I’ve felt for him all his life. He will always live on in my heart. So thank you, thank you, thank you.” A collaboration between DJ Khaled, Hussle and John Legend later won another prize, that of the best rap/sung performance (‘Higher’).
Furthermore, the most attractive prizes went to women. The Netflix film ‘Homecoming’, about Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella, won the best music film, Michelle Obama received another frame for the best ‘spoken word’ album for the audio version of her book ‘Becoming’. Neither of the women was present to receive the prize. Disco singer Gloria Gaynor already won a Grammy for her ‘I Will Survive’ in 1980, but was once again awarded an award for a best roots gospel album. Tracy Young became the first woman to win the best remix category for her version of Madonna’s ‘I Rise’. “We broke through the glass ceiling together,” she said in her speech. “I accept this prize in the name of all the female producers who were overlooked.”
The controversy of Grammy Awards
The award show this year was not entirely free of controversy. Deborah Dugan, the boss of the Grammy Awards, was fired last week, and she sued her former employer. According to Deborah, she was sent out of the avenue after raising various abuses within the company. That is how she came up with allegations of corruption and sexual harassment, among other things. Of course, those accusations were still reverberating. Presenter Alicia Keys seemed to refer to that in her speech: “It was a hellish week, damn,” she said. “There is something serious going on. It’s time for something new. We say no to the negative energy, and we say no to the old systems.”
Tyler, the Creator, who won the best rap album (‘Igor’), could not resist criticizing. He was grateful, he said backstage, but the fact that he was still labeled as a rap felt like an “underhanded compliment.” “When we – and I mean people who look like me – do something that goes beyond genres, they still put us in the rap or urban category. When I hear something like that, I think, Why can’t I just be in the pop category?”
Just mention a funny moment. The British singer Lewis Capaldi – who was nominated for “Song of the Year” – had an uncomfortable moment during the show. “A woman just came to me and offered to take my seat,” he wrote on Twitter. “She thought I was one of those people who fill up the seats when someone goes to the toilet.”