As the one and only Lizzo stole the hearts of millions with a show-stopping rendition of “Cuz I Love You” the 62nd annual GRAMMY Awards were underway, only after she gave a nod to the beloved and recently departed Kobe Bryant, as many artists did throughout the night. Alongside Boyz II Men, GRAMMY host Alicia Keys paid respects to the fallen legend and those impacted by the tragic helicopter crash through a somber rendition of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye”.
Tyler, The Creator switched up the pace of the evening and burned down the house as he gave a blazing performance of “EARFQUAKE” and “NEW MAGIC WAND” from his GRAMMY Award-winning album, IGOR. Upon winning his first GRAMMY, a moment every artist and their families dream of, he brought his mother on stage to accept the award. He expressed gratitude to everyone from loyal friends to role models like Pharrell Williams, and all the people that helped him along the way of his artistic journey.
Another moving moment in the evening happened as Demi Lovato captivated the crowd in her first performance since 2018. She became audibly choked up singing a recently released song “Anyone”, the vulnerable nature of which she navigated beautifully. She stunned the crowd with her unbelievably transparent song, illustrating the struggles of addiction and mental illness. The entire Staples Center, home of the GRAMMY Awards, gave Lovato a well-deserved standing ovation. Other performances of the evening included Lil Nasx, Nas, Aerosmith, Run-D.M.C. and Ariana Grande.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the night was the success of 18 year old alternative pop artist Billie Eilish. She walked away having won 5 awards for Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year. Eilish is the first female as well as the youngest nominee to sweep the four major general categories of the GRAMMYS.
Although millions of people look forward to the airing of the GRAMMY Awards every year, there is also a large portion of people who don’t. While the Recording Academy remains one of the most prestigious American music institutions, there are many ways in which they fail to acknowledge a diverse selection of artists. For example, in 2016 Frank Ocean chose not to submit his album “Blonde” for GRAMMY consideration, explaining that he did not feel that the Recording Academy fairly represents musicians from all backgrounds.
The Recording Academy has failed to equally represent artists of color and it has been widely understood that a majority of the people that make up the voting body for these awards are mostly male and over the age of 50 years old. It goes without saying that many Recording Academy members are not in touch with the majority of people listening to, creating, and producing music in 2020; and the results show.
Without a doubt, the annual GRAMMYS award show is one of the most highly-anticipated television events of the year. We can only hope that in the future the Recording Academy makes strides to expand and diversify their voting body and begins to recognize the music that best represents the taste of those who tune into it each and every day.