Sunday, October 1, 2023

60th annual Grammy Awards full of upsets, surprises


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Story by Aaliyah Johnson / Contributing Writer

The 60th annual Grammy Awards was filled to the brim with excitement, diversity and politically charged messages throughout the night. With many different categories ranging from latin to hip-hop to rock, Sunday night provided one of the most diverse Grammy Awards in history. It was also the first Grammy ceremony to not have a single white male as a nominee in the Album of the Year category. Nominees such as Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar made this year’s Grammy celebration a game-changer for the future. Meanwhile, local act The Secret Sisters — which includes MTSU alumna Laura Rogers — with their nomination for Best Folk Album and were honored at MTSU’s pre-Grammy celebration.

The night started off big with Kendrick Lamar’s powerful performance of “XXX,” featuring U2, from his hit album “DAMN,” which went on to win Best Rap Album, beating out Jay-Z’s “4:44.” After giving his acceptance speech, Lamar gave a shout-out to Jay’s hinting at running for president, exclaiming “Jay for president” before walking off stage. Lamar went on to win Best Rap/Sung Performance for his song “Loyalty,” featuring Rihanna, and both Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for “HUMBLE”.

Bruno Mars was another big act of the night who performed his song “Finesse” with rapper Cardi B. The duo dressed in 90s-style clothing and delivered a very exciting performance. Bruno Mars managed to sweep all three of the biggest awards of the night:  Song of the Year for “That’s What I Like” and both Record of the Year and Album of the Year for “24k Magic” and the eponymous album, respectively. This is uniquely similar to last year’s Grammy Awards when Adele did just the same.

Lois Fonsi performed his worldwide smash hit “Despacito” featuring Daddy Yankee, which was up for three Grammys. Childish Gambino performed “Terrified” from his Grammy-winning album, “Awaken, My Love!” Other notable performances throughout the night included Sam Smith with his song “Pray,” DJ Khaled, Bryson Tiller and Rihanna’s performance of “Wild Thoughts” and Lady Gaga with “Joanne.”

Dave Chappelle made an appearance Sunday night, taking part in Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the start of the show and later when he won Best Comedy Album for “The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas.” He received a standing ovation from the crowd.

This year’s ceremony included some tribute performances as well. Jon Batiste and Gary Clark Jr. paid tribute to legends Chuck Berry (“Maybellene”) and Fats Domino (“Ain’t That A Shame”) who both died recently. Three artists who performed at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas one day prior to the tragic shooting that took place there sang a tribute song to fans who lost their lives in attacks on music events, such as the Manchester shooting.

Logic took the stage later with award-winner Alessia Cara and nominee Khalid to perform “1-800-273-8255” and raise awareness for suicide prevention, alluding to the suicide of Chester Bennington.

The show responded to the #MeToo movement, starting off with a forceful speech from Janelle Monae about women in the music industry fighting against sexism and sexual harassment. Kesha then gave an emotionally charged performance of her song “Praying.”

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards were a night to remember as Bruno Mars snatched the top three awards from the hands of Lorde and Childish Gambino and shockingly beat out Jay- Z and Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year, an upset that nobody saw coming.

To contact Music Editor Hayden Goodridge, email

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  1. I believe it is important for award shows to show diversity. Music in general is very diverse, ranging from many ethnicities and different genres. Music is universal, so I was pleased that the Grammy’s was very diverse. There was a hashtag used for the 2016 Oscars that was hosted by Chris Rock called #OscarsSoWhite. Well, that definitely wasn’t needed for this year’s Grammy awards. If I made the hashtag, it would say #GrammysSoDiverse. In the article, it talked about how this was the first Grammy Ceremony in history that didn’t have a white male nominated for Album of the Year. The ceremony even opened up with Kendrick Lamar performing powerful rap lyrics. His performance was also a political statement about how it feels being black in America. It had Dave Chappelle making short comments during the pauses of the performance. My favorite line Chappelle said was, “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America, is being an honest black man in America. Sorry for the interruption.” Bruno Mars took home a sweep of Grammy awards by winning six overall at this ceremony. He also performed with Caribbean American artist Cardi B. Rihanna, DJ Khaled, and Bryson Tiller performed Wild Thoughts, which is a song that has a Latin feel to it. Another Hispanic hit performed was Lois Fonsi’s and Daddy Yankee’s song “Despacito.” That song is actually sang/rapped in Spanish. I agree with the article where it says that this Grammy ceremony was filled with, “excitement, diversity and politically charged messages throughout the night.” Logic’s performance of “1-800-273-8255” with Alessia Cara and Khalid was for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. I believe Janelle Monae’s speech before Kesha’s performance was groundbreaking and needed for the #MeToo Movement. There was more diversity and political moments that also happened at the 60th Grammy Ceremony. Overall, it was a memorable night and goes down in history. This article demonstrated the strengths and variances of the Grammy’s wonderfully.

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