After the tumultuous 12 months that have just passed the Grammy’s were always going to provide some political outrage but, whilst it felt like some ground was broken, the awards themselves remain much the same.
The Grammy Awards have been and gone again and it was another monumental night with Adele sweeping the floor for another year and Chance the Rapper making a world’s first. Meanwhile Beyoncé takes home 2 awards, but many feel she was snubbed of what she truly deserved – Record of the year.
Chance the Rapper had the most extraordinary night after being the posterchild for a campaign last year that implored the Grammy’s to change their protocol and allow online/stream-only releases in the Grammys. Shortly following the campaign the Grammy’s made streaming-only albums eligible for the awards. At his first ever Grammy Awards show Chance then went on to win best rap album with Coloring Book.
The awards were kickstarted by an Adele performance of ‘Hello’, which she went on to win record of the year for. Adele then followed up her hit single with a tribute cover of George Michael’s Fastlove, which she nailed with a standing ovation after restarting the song for singing off-key, saying: “I’m sorry for swearing and I’m sorry for starting again. I can’t mess this up for him. I’m sorry, I can’t.”
As the ceremony went on and Adele racked up more awards, winning 5 overall through the night, more tributes were performed for the Bee Gees and Prince. Beyond the tributes to the recent passing of some of the world’s most beloved musicians the night was set by a more somber tone regarding the current political state in the US.
J Lo got the ball rolling for a political commentary, quoting an essay by Toni Morrison after George W Bush’s re-election, saying: “At this point in history, our voices are needed more than ever.” This was followed by Katy Perry’s likely dressing room nod to Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé commenting on representation, and Laverne Cox who raised transgender issues referencing a transgendered teen facing a legal battle currently.
Many of the other acts showed support for various causes, for example Schoolboy Q’s red carpet walk with his daughter, wearing a pink hoodie saying ‘Girl Power’, showing his support for gender equality and women’s rights. Later in the night A Tribe Called Quest performed a politically charged performance with Busta Rhymes in which Busta referred to President Trump as “President Agent Orange”.
The group joined Busta Rhymes in thanking “President Agent Orange” for “perpetuating evil in the United States”. Their performance was also performed in tribute to Phife Dawg, their close friend and crucial member who died last year. Their performance closed with Q-Tip shouting “Resist” as he was joined on stage by people of various races.
Adele took home 5 awards across the whole night, but many have challenged her win for record of the year which she was in contest with Beyoncé over. During her acceptance speech for ’25’s Grammy win, Adele said to Beyoncé: “I can’t possibly accept this award. All us artists here adore you. You are our light. And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves. And I love you. I always have and I always will.”