61st Grammy Awards teems with controversy, historic wins


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The broadcast drew 19.9 million viewers, up 100,000 from last year.

On Feb. 10, the 61st Annual Grammy Awards took place and many iconic moments were witnessed. A major theme this year was female empowerment, with historic moments such as Cardi B becoming the first female artist to win a Grammy for Rap Album of the Year, to celebrations of the decades-long careers of Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. The monumental moments did not come without a fair share of controversies.

With singer-songwriter Alicia Keys as host and a string of award wins from female artists, it was a year for women in a male dominated industry. The most awarded artist of the night, tied with Childish Gambino, was Kacey Musgraves— taking home Album of the Year for “Golden Hour,” and three other wins.

Other women who dominated the night include Lady Gaga, who gave actor Bradley Cooper his first Grammy win with their duet “Shallow,” Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Cardi B. Dolly Parton’s tribute performance also saw many women come together in commemoration of her outstanding achievements and lifetime success.

Though fans reacted positively to Cardi B’s historic win, it didn’t come without its fair share of controversy. After the rapper’s win, Ariana Grande, who was absent from the Grammys due to a disagreement with the show’s producers on which song she would perform, took to twitter to voice her dislike of the show’s perceived Mac Miller snub. In now deleted tweets, Grande called Cardi’s win “trash.” Later apologizing, Grande reassured fans that she was happy for Cardi B, but felt it was unfair of the show to invite the late-Mac Miller’s family, well aware that he would lose out in his category.

Many claimed that Cardi B’s album “Invasion of Privacy,” is not as strong as the work of other nominees such as Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” and Pusha T’s “Daytona.” Despite backlash, Cardi took to twitter to defend her win, stating she worked hard on the album and endured days without rest, even while being pregnant at the time.

Fans of rapper Nicki Minaj were also left unimpressed due to beliefs that Minaj, who has yet to win a single Grammy, deserved a nomination at the ceremony. Drake, in his acceptance speech, mentioned that the importance placed on Grammys is unnecessary and does not reflect an artist’s legacy. During his speech, however, the rapper was cut off. Many suspect this was due to it being perceived as a passive-aggressive diss towards the show.

With Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” taking home four Grammy awards, it was also a year for black artists to achieve the acknowledgment they deserve from the awards show. African American viewers were left shocked at a Motown tribute performed by Jennifer Lopez, as Motown is famous for bringing many black artists into the mainstream. Viewers felt it would make the most sense for a black artist to be the main contributor to the tribute, especially since Motown artist Diana Ross had just performed prior to it.

Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo, who were also performing for the tribute, defended the choice to include Lopez, applauding her on the performance. Many critics disagreed, stating it was a clear case of cultural appropriation and insensitive to a  community that Motown is famous for empowering.

Despite these criticisms, it was great to see what women accomplished this year. With the CEO of the show, Neil Portman, stepping down this year, hopefully we will see more progress towards minority groups in the future. Until then, it is important to acknowledge the progress made at this year’s Grammy Awards.