In the midst of controversy and tragedy, the 62nd Grammys Award brought light to loss and unity to separation.
The timing of the Grammy Awards 2020 didn’t seem to be right. It was the midst of a controversy and it follows a recent tragedy.
In the week that led to the Grammys Award, the first female president of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan, was accused of bullying an assistant and now ousted from the position. This allegation opened up a series of other allegations filed by Dugan to the HR department, against the Recording Academy. These included sexual misconduct and assault, along with financial and voting corruption. Everyone denied the accusations against them, making the situation more complicated than it already was.
Another event that heated up Los Angeles was the death of the icon Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others. “Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero,” the Grammys host, Alicia Keys announced.
However, as they say, the show must go on. And it did. It was beyond an evening of sadness; it was an accumulation of positivity, gratitude, and encouragement.
Alicia Keys and Boys II Men opened the show with a deserving and heart-warming tribute of It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to the legend, Kobe Bryant. That wasn’t the only mention of Kobe; it seemed as though the whole show was about him.
Lizzo inaugurated the show with her performance of Cuz I Love You, also as a tribute to Kobe. As she passionately announced, “tonight is for Kobe,” the crowd broke into a compassionate roar. In true Lizzo style, she also performed Truth Hurts and embracing body positivity, emitting an energetic aura.
And we cannot talk about inclusivity without mentioning the unprecedented Old Town Road Remix. It wasn’t just a country trap track, but it was next-level genre-crossing. Lil Nas X put on this big show featuring BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey, Nas, and Billy Ray Cyrus. This was a performance that showed great music has no races, colors, ages, or sexualities.
As if that wasn’t beautiful enough, Camilla Cabello, chose to put on an angelic rendition of her song First Man, honoring her dad directly, above all her other hits. Genuinely sang out every word, she brought her dad and the audience to tears.
Another tear-jerking performance was Demi Lovato’s return after her drug overdose back in 2018. Anyone is a song written and recorded just a few days before the event, a song very close to her heart. She definitely projected that emotion with her powerful vocals during the performance with cry-for-help lyrics—“I need someone, oh/Anyone, please send me anyone”. This great comeback earned her a standing ovation from a mass of musically talented people.
More talents and tributes were sprinkled throughout the event. Usher, Sheila E, and FKA Twigs paid tribute to Prince with Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry and Kiss. DJ Khaled, John Legend & Meek Mill honored Nipsey Hussle with their collaboration track Higher.
Another major highlight of the Grammys 2020 was Billie Eilish winning all major categories, the second artist to hold this title in history. Lil Nas X took home two awards, while Lizzo won one award. Again, this year’s nominations and wins denoted that diversity in the music industry is beginning to see the end of the tunnel.
The Recording Academy is deemed to be “too male, too white, too old and too insular.” Probably, this is the beginning of a drastic change to that system.
The atmosphere of the Recording Academy’s event this year was surely a juxtaposition of tension, grief, support, and hope. In the midst of darkness, the artists have the power to shine a light on negativities. Alicia Keys closed the show by thanking the artists for speaking a universal language, music, and she voiced, “we got a lot to change, we got a lot to do.”
Written by: Thathiny Tep