The 60th Grammy Awards were pomp and fury signifying nothing, but proclaiming to be everything with its myriad of social issues seemingly being superimposed across every other performance, acceptance speech and vignette.
Jonelle Monaes #MeToo Movement comments went over like a like the Hidenburg disaster. Such a moment made me realize how difficult it is to keep pressing forward with a righteous cause, how brave it must be to speak out time after time, even when your friends moan and groan, and how much mental and emotional stamina such a feat must take as well.
During the Grammys, singer and actress Janelle Monae reminded the audience that #MeToo janelle monae, janelle monae (musical artist), janelle mone, janelle, monae, janelle monae (composer), music, album, live, archandroid, wondaland, interview, r&b, full, song, singer, lyrics, tightrope, electric lady, video, #metoo, me too, news, metoo, women, comedy, harvey weinstein, aziz ansari, feminism, sexual harassment, politics, #metoo movement, funny, weinstein, sexual assault, meghan trainor, comedian, interview, sexual misconduct, podcast, music, all about that bass
But with such geniuses under one roof, the artistry was still able to shine through, from visions of black dropping to the sounds of gunshots, Kendrick Lamars performance, to its definite political underpinnings, the legend of Kung Fu Kenny continues to grow as a truly transcendent cultural phenomenon.
The whole visual aesthetic just screamed protest and resistance at frequencies unknown, across one of Americas biggest networks. It is moments like these that push an artist to immortality, and Kendrick Lamar just keeps leaving the mic smoldering, and crowds buzzing, with his meticulously orchestrated imagery. Amid his speech, the punctuating satire of Dave Chappelle, the cultural and sociopolitical significance in U2s appearance in this offering could not be overstated.
Here is Kendrick Lamar’s phenomenal performance to kick off the #GRAMMYs https://t.co/zB714KDnfc
Indeed, as Chappelle stated, the only thing worse than watching a Black Man being honest in America is being an honest Black Man. Classic. However, if the Grammys had a popular white rapper in any of his categories, I’m not sure Kendrick wins four Grammys.
Bruno Mars has been the future of the funk for seven or eight years. This is not an overnight situation. Mars won six Grammys, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. It has long been explained that his ascendancy to R&B royalty was destined to happen by the sheer nature of the culture. Indeed, were witnessing how black culture has pollinated the world, and Mars has always given lip service and praise to that.
Whether it was his transmogrifying the funky sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang in past works, or his remixing of the sounds of Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on his new works, Mars has never shied away from his relationship with black music and culture. Unlike others, who literally borrowed the soul before returning to their mainstream roots, he is being his authentic self when he performs these songs. Therein lies the unappreciated difference between paying homage and usurpation.
Perception to the contrary is why theres a visceral disdain for Ed Sheerens music in many non-mainstream music spaces.
Kendrick Lamar represented with Rap Album of the Year for Damn, Rap/sung performance Loyalty, with Rhianna, Rap song for Humble, and Rap performance Humble.
ThoughJay-Z was nominated for eight Grammys, the most of all nominees, he walked away without one. The Twitterverse is ablaze with conspiracy theories and outright consternation of what many feel is an injustice. However, for their part, Jay, Bey and Blue seemed to be having a great time. The imagery of baby Blue hushing her parents is definitely headed to a meme near you.
All and all, the Grammys, like any other mainstream award show, will never be completely in sync with the sensibilities of black and brown people, despite the performance of Despacito. But theyll always be great at giving one the impression that they’re in the know.