Like many awards shows nowadays, The Grammys appeared to be on a path to self-destruction.
Previous years of the coveted award ceremony had failed to recognize popular and successful hip-hop and rap artists nominated for major awards like Album of The Year, Record of The Year and Song of The Year, with outrage from not only the fans but the artists themselves.
Numerous years had also seen lone female artists in categories where they were outnumbered by their male counterparts. It was as if they didn’t stand a chance against the powerful male voices of the music industry. The 2019 Grammys proved this wrong.
From the award-winning powerhouse host Alicia Keys to wins by Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves and Ariana Grande, women had a stage and a platform during “music’s biggest night” this year.
Keys kicked the night off with a speech on the power of the music, a theme that hosts of the past have also touched on. “Do you feel that love in the building?” she said to the crowd at the Staples Center. “This is love, this is life, this is living, this is light.”
Keys went on to recognize Diana Ross, an honoree for the night and one of the most recognizable, early faces of Motown; Dolly Parton, the recipient of the MusicCares Person of The Year Award, an honor that recognizes artists for achievement in the music industry as well as philanthropic accomplishments and Chloe x Halle, a twin duo that have emerged as young powerhouses. The love for women was strong in only the first fifteen minutes of the show.
But it only got better. Keys was joined on stage by her sisters or otherwise known as Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jennifer Lopez and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Each woman went down the line and told a personal story with a connection to music. It was a powerful and unifying moment.
Keys’ opening remarks and guests on stage wasn’t the only powerful moment of the show.
In a night that saw numerous wins for female artists, Cardi B became the first female solo artist to win Best Rap Album beating Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T and Travis Scott. The rapper continues to defy expectations as she releases hit after hit and delivers her no f–ks attitude to the world. In her acceptance speech, Cardi spoke of learning of her pregnancy during the album’s production and her persistence to push on so that she could have the best of both worlds.
Cardi’s persona and persistence isn’t new to the world of female rappers but it’s admirable. Like many female artists, Cardi has had to prove she deserves her place at the top of the charts. But with multiple number one songs on the charts and the ability to spit memorable lines in a matter of seconds, it’s incredible to see her get the recognition she deserves.
Adding to the list of female winners is Ariana Grande. Grande has released two number one albums in the last six months and one of those albums won her her first Grammy. Grande’s “Sweetener,” took home Pop Vocal Album and it was just another accomplishment for the powerhouse singer. The record was the first album to be released following the terrorist attack that took place at Grande’s Manchester concert in 2017.
But topping that list is Kacey Musgraves. Musgraves took home the coveted Album of the Year award for the album “Golden Hour.” Musgraves is a country singer but not by normal definitions. She has stuck out as a progressive artist in a genre that has not been categorized as the most open in music.
A profile of the singer in The Wall Street Journal in December 2017 reads: “She’s drawn criticism and praise for her outspoken lyrics that reject old-fashioned ideals in place of a more modern sensibility. That edginess has earned her a reputation as a pop-country rebel.”
The pop-country rebel image has worked. Musgraves’ latest album has struck a chord with a growing mass of fans for its open emotional honesty, poetic lyrics and soundscape. She deserves the win, hands down.
Keys started the Grammy night saying, “This is love, this is life, this is living, this is light.” A world where female artists get more recognition and praise is truly filled with light and love. The hope can only be that this trend continues.