Rap scores Grammy breakthrough while girl power rules awards show

Rap scores Grammy breakthrough while girl power rules awards show

This Is America, Childish Gambino's searing indictment of police brutality and racism, scored a breakthrough for rap on Monday (Feb 11) at the Grammy awards, where the top prize went to country artist Kacey Musgraves.

Childish Gambino Grammys 2019
Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, was not present to receive the Record Of The Year award at the Grammys for his politically provocative This Is America. (Photo: AFP/Valerie Macon)

This Is America, Childish Gambino's searing indictment of police brutality and racism, scored a breakthrough for rap on Monday (Feb 11) at the Grammy awards, where the top prize went to country artist Kacey Musgraves.

It won both Record and Song Of The Year, becoming the first hip hop track to win either of the top Grammy categories in 61 years. This Is America also took Grammys for Best Music Video and Best Rap Performance.

However, Childish Gambino, the music alter ego of actor Donald Glover, was not around to accept the honour.

Both Glover and leading nominee Kendrick Lamar were Grammy no-shows in what was seen as a snub by the rappers for past disappointments when socially incisive rap material lost out to pop or R&B at the highest honours in the music business.

"I really wish he (Glover) was here right now. All of this was his vision and he deserves this credit," said songwriter Ludwig Goransson, who worked with Glover on the track.

"It speaks to people, it calls out injustice, celebrates life and reunites us all at the same time," Goransson said, accepting the award on Glover's behalf.

The Album Of The Year Grammy went to Musgraves for Golden Hour, reflecting a show and a year that was dominated by female performers and winners across multiple genres.

"I would have nothing without songs. It's all about the songs," said Musgraves, who also won three other Grammys.

SPRINGING A SURPRISE

Rapper Cardi B, who wore a black and silver mesh body suit to perform her song Money, won her first Grammy, taking Best Rap Album for Invasion Of Privacy.

The outspoken New Yorker seemed uncharacteristically overwhelmed by the win. "Ooh. The nerves are so bad," she said, accepting her Grammy. "Maybe I need to start smoking weed."

Lady Gaga won three trophies and British pop singer Dua Lipa was named Best New Artist. Canadian rapper Drake, who was also not expected to show up, made a surprise appearance to accept the Grammy for Best Rap Song for God's Plan.

Lady Gaga's and Bradley Cooper’s duet Shallow from their musical drama A Star Is Born, picked up Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, with the award accepted by an emotional Gaga.

“I’m so proud to be part of a movie that addresses mental health issues. A lot of artists deal with that and we gotta take care of each other,” she said between sobs.

The soundtrack hit also picked up Best Song Written For Visual Media at the pre-Grammys ceremony, and won Best Original Song at the 2019 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) in London just hours prior.

Hosted by Alicia Keys, the show featured rousing performances by Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Camila Cabello, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae and Katy Perry, as well as a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin.

Camila Cabello kicked off the night performing her hit single Havana on a technicolour set, with support from Young Thug, J Balvin, Rickey Martin and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. The set also featured a short interlude of raggaeton hit Mi Gente.

Cardi B launched into a cabaret performance of Money accompanied by a cast of dancers in glittery leotards, and spent most of her stage time dancing atop a grand piano. The performance may have been a preview of her upcoming Las Vegas residency.

Introduced by Anna Kendrick, Dolly Parton was honoured with a medley of her hits by Miley Cyrus, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves. The 73-year-old country star was also honoured as MusiCares Person Of The Year at a ceremony yesterday (Feb 10).

The Grammys sprang another surprise by bringing on former US first lady Michelle Obama for an opening segment in which she joined Lady Gaga, Keys, Lopez and actress Jada Pinkett Smith to talk about the power of music.

"From the Motown records I wore out on the (Chicago) Southside to the Who Run The World songs that fuelled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story," Obama told the cheering celebrity audience in Los Angeles.

(Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters

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