The Grammys were held this past Sunday in their rightful home, Madison Square Garden. The Grammys are a night of recognition for the biggest and best music has to offer.
This year, Bruno Mars made out like a bandit. The 10-year music veteran left MSG with the six awards he was nominated for that night, winning three of the four major categories — Album and Record of the Year for “24K Magic” and Song of the Year for “That’s What I Like.”
Mars missed out on Best New Artist since he is a veteran to the industry, and the award went to Alessia Cara. Cara is best known for her song “Stay” and contribution to Logic’s “1-800-273-8255.”
The ceremony is a night for the musical stars to shine. And also politics.
The star-studded award ceremony gives all the latest and greatest music has to offer, but this year, like many others, also had its fair share of political banter.
Social justice was a main theme from start to finish, beginning with the white roses on the red carpet. The color white quickly became a motif for the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements against sexual misconduct. This was further represented in Kesha’s emotional comeback performance of her song, “Praying,” where she and her female colleagues dawned the stage clothed in all white attire.
Before introducing Kesha to the stage, Janelle Monae spoke on the movement and delivered a message on behalf of all women in the industry, “We come in peace, but we mean business.” Along with her message, she urged both men and women of the industry to work together, united, to create a safer environment for all.
No night of political speech is complete without poking fun at President Donald Trump.
Kendrick Lamar’s opening performance was riddled with political innuendos, but still received its much deserved standing ovation after his final song, “King’s Dead,” when his dancers in red hoodies individually fell to the floor in sync with gunshots. The hoodies seemed to be symbolic of the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
On a much lighter side, Hilary Clinton made an appearance when host James Corden held auditions for the narration of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” which details the unsavory behavior of the president in the White House and during his 2016 presidential campaign.
In between the repartee were some notable performances.
Lady Gaga was the one to watch of the evening. Sitting at a white grand piano, she sang “Million Reasons,” dedicating the ballad to her father’s late sister, Joanne, and to love and compassion.
Sam Smith’s soulful rendition of his song “Pray” was a masterful transition between awards. Following the ode was the presentation of Best Pop Solo Performance. To the surprise of myself and many others, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” beat out some of the most powerful female voices in the industry. The other nominees included Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Love So Soft,” Kesha’s “Praying” and P!nk’s “What About Us.”
Camilla Cabello took to the stage to introduce music legends U2, and told her own story of her parent’s journey to America while pleading for the Dreamers and young immigrants today. The story was fitting for the setting of the performance, which took place on the Hudson River in front of the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the voyage that many immigrants made to Ellis Island.
The Grammys in memoriam segment began with a tribute to Tom Petty by Emmylou Harris and Chris Stapleton, winners of Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. The duo recognized the influence of Petty by singing his song “Wildflowers.”
The tribute transitioned into the honoring of musical icons who passed away in the last year with a performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Logic, accompanied by Alessia Cara and Khalid. The song of suicide awareness was brought on by the deaths of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, who is best know for his lead roles in Soundgarden and Audioslave. Logic spoke of unity, “Together we can build (not) just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united.”
The night ended with the most anticipated award of the night, Album of the Year. Nominees included “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino, “4:44” by Jay-Z, “DAMN.” by Kendrick Lamar, “24k Magic” by Bruno Mars and “Melodrama” by Lorde. Mars scored his hat trick of major Grammy awards with this one.
With surprising winners, stirring tributes and awe-inspiring performances, the Grammys’ return to New York was a success.