Drake and Dua Lipa talked representation, while Lady Gaga spoke candidly about mental health
Awards season is well underway and last night saw the biggest names in music turn out for the 61st Grammy awards in LA. It was a historic moment for women in rap, as Cardi B became the first solo woman to win the best rap album award. Meanwhile, Childish Gambino scooped up record of the year for “This Is America”. As ever, it was a night of weird and wonderful fashion, incredible performances, and moving acceptance speeches. Here’s our round-up of the most provocative, thoughtful, and emotional speeches of the night.
DRAKE CALLED OUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
While accepting his best rap song win for “God’s Plan”, Drake offered words of encouragement to aspiring musicians, and then went on to call out the Grammys sketchy record with hip-hop artists and artists of colour. “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York or anybody else, or a brother from Houston right there, my brother Travis (Scott),” Drake said. “But my point is you’ve already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if you're a hero in your hometown.”
The broadcast cut to commercial before Drake finished speaking, though the Grammy’s later clarified that it was unintentional and that producers assumed that he was finished…
DIANA ROSS, AN ICON, ICONICALLY WISHED HERSELF A HAPPY BIRTHDAY
The Queen of the Grammys was invited to perform in celebration of her milestone 75th birthday in March this year. Introduced by her nine-year-old, show-stealing grandson, Raif, Ross performed two classics, “Best Years of my Life” and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” at the end of which she exclaimed “Happy Birthday to me!”.
LUDWIG GORANSSON WAS THE ONLY ONE TO MENTION 21 SAVAGE
It was almost the end of the awards show before anyone on stage acknowledged 21 Savage, despite his two nominations. The rapper is currently in custody after being arrested by ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in Atlanta, having been born in the UK. While accepting Record of the Year on Childish Gambino’s behalf, Ludwig Goransson took a moment to think of 21 Savage: “He should be here tonight”. It was an instance of political rebellion, from the co-producer of the distinctly political track, “This Is America”.
DUA LIPA MADE A DIG AT THE GRAMMY’S PAST HISTORY WITH WOMEN ARTISTS
The British artist threw shade at the Grammys when accepting her award for Best New Artist of 2019. “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up,” she said referencing the lack of female nominees in previous years, and calling out Recording Academy president Neil Portnow who, at the 2018 awards show, said that women “need to step up”.
CARDI B GAVE A BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE TO HER DAUGHTER AS SHE MADE HISTORY
The Bronx rapper teared up when accepting her historic Best Rap Album win, as the first solo woman to ever bag the accolade. The artist beat Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and the late Mac Miller with her album, Invasion of Privacy. Taking the stage with her husband Offset, Cardi got pretty emotional while talking about her pregnancy and daughter, Kulture. “I want to thank my daughter,” she said. “I’m not just saying thank you because she’s my daughter. It’s because, you know, when I found out I was pregnant, my album was not complete, like three songs that I was for sure having. And then you know, you know how it was, we was like, we have to get this album done so I could still do videos while I’m still not showing. And it was very long nights.” The artist thanked her collaborators, as well as Offset – for once, there was a lack of the usual energetic Cardi-isms as she took her joyous moment in.
LADY GAGA GAVE A HEARTFELT SPEECH ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
The artist gave a stunning performance, took home three Grammys, and also bagged a BAFTA in absentia (It was a very good night). After thanking God and her family, Lady Gaga gave a moving speech on how important it was to her to work on a film that talks about mental health issues. “If I don’t get another chance to say this, I just want to say I’m so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues. They’re so important. A lot of artists deal with that. And we gotta take care of each other.”