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Women shine at Grammy Awards 2019
A year after the Grammy Awards were criticised for its track record in gender representation, women took centrestage at the 61st edition of the annual gala here on Sunday night. There were bold performances and wins in many top categories, including the album of the year that was given to Kacey Musgraves for Golden Hour.
The controversies of last year, when just one woman won a solo award during the telecast – and the outgoing head of the Recording Academy, the organisation behind the awards, remarked that women in music should “step up” to advance their careers – were never far from the surface of the show.
Dua Lipa, a 23-year-old British singer, alluded to that when accepting the award for best new artist, saying she was honoured to be recognised among so many other female artists, reports a website.
“I guess this year we really stepped up,” Lipa said. Backstage, she said the message of greater gender equity was immediately clear to her when the nominations were announced last December. Musgraves took home three other prizes, apart from album of the year, in the country field.
The ceremony saw Falguni Shah and Prashant Mistry of Indian origin losing in two separate categories, while Grammy and Oscar-winning Indian musician A.R. Rahman enjoyed the show as an audience member. It was also the night of hip-hop artists.
Both the record and song of the year prizes – the latter awarded for songwriting – were won by Childish Gambino’s This Is America, a song about racial injustice.
It was the first hip-hop song to win either award.
Drake was there to accept the award for best rap song, for God’s plan from his blockbuster album Scorpion. Before his speech was cut off, he alluded to the gulf between the Grammy establishment and hip-hop culture.
Lamar and Drake, the two most-nominated artists – with eight and seven nods respectively – each won only one. Lamar’s King’s Dead from the Black Panther soundtrack, tied for best rap performance with Anderson Paak’s Bubblin.
Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won a total of four awards, including rap/sung performance and best music video.
The ceremony here began with Camila Cabello performing her song Havana joined by Ricky Martin, J. Balvin and Young Thug. Then singer Alicia Keys, the host, introduced “my sisters” Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez. Each spoke about the inspiring power of music throughout their lives.
Among various performers, Janelle Monae performed Make me feel with bits of inspiration from Prince and Michael Jackson, but focused on female sexuality, surrounded by female dancers in tight rubber outfits.
With Bradley Cooper absent, A Star Is Born star Lady Gaga took both parts of Shallow herself. She won best pop duo/group performance for “Shallow”.
Lopez led a Motown tribute performed as a Vegas-style revue. She was joined by Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo, with a medley of about 10 songs jammed into six minutes and featuring gymnastic, bottom-shaking, somersaulting dancing.
Cardi B won the first Grammy of her career, best rap album for Invasion of Privacy. H.E.R., the stage name for Gabriella Wilson, led a slow-build version of her ballad Hard place. She won two awards, for R&B performance and best R&B album for her self-titled release H.E.R. (IANS)