The 60th annual Grammy Awards celebrated the best in music while bringing attention to important political and social issues. Hosted in New York, the awards ceremony offered several surprises and memorable performances.
Rappers Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar led the nominations, but Bruno Mars dominated the awards. Mars won some of the top honors, including Record of the Year for “24K Magic” and Album of the Year for “24K Magic.” He also won Best Song for “That’s What I Like.”
Although Mars swept the general field, Lamar swept the rap music category. His fourth studio album, “DAMN.” was critically acclaimed for its reflections on race and the modern state of society.
In a major upset, Alessia Cara won Best New Artist despite some critics expecting Khalid to win. Ed Sheeran’s award for Best Pop Solo Performance also came as a surprise considering he was competing against the genre-popular Kesha and Lady Gaga.
The #MeToo social media campaign against sexual harassment also had a presence at the ceremony. At the Golden Globes, celebrities used fashion to stand in solidarity with women, and the Grammys was no different. Several attendees wore white roses to show support for the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
While the film industry has had more figures speak up regarding personal experiences with gender-based harassment, some musicians from the music industry have also spoken out. One of the most notable celebrities to speak out from the industry is Kesha, who was involved in a lawsuit against producer Dr. Luke. Artist Janelle Monae, who introduced Kesha’s powerful performance of her song, “Praying,” gave a speech expressing solidarity and echoed the phrase “Time’s Up.”
Other musical performances at the Grammys confronted social and political issues, such as racism and immigration. The show opened with a bold performance by Lamar. His musical number focused on racism in America, and comedian Dave Chappelle interjected with thoughtful statements on race.
“The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America,” Chappelle said.
Artists Alessia Cara, Logic and Khalid gave a moving performance of the song “1-800-273-8255,” which addresses the need for suicide awareness. They were joined onstage by people wearing shirts reading “You are not alone.” At the end of the performance, Logic gave a speech showing solidarity for the #MeToo campaign and immigrants.
In the past year, suicide took the life of musical artists, such as Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and both were recognized along with other deceased musicians during a tribute performance.
While some of the awards weren’t aired on TV, there were some notable winners. Carrie Fisher (“Star Wars”) won a Spoken Word award posthumously for her autobiography “Princess Diarist,” and The War on Drugs’ album “Deeper Understanding” won Best Rock Album.
This year’s nominations were more diverse compared to past years with people of color leading the top nominations, but male artists still took most of the major awards.
The full list of winners can be found here.