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The-Biggest-Highlights-from-the-2019-Grammy-Awards

The Biggest Highlights from the 2019 Grammy Awards

The biggest night in the music industry came and went with minimal controversy. This year’s Grammy Awards were packed with touching speeches, well-deserved wins and stellar performances. We’re talking musical legends like Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, and a surprise appearance by the former First Lady herself.

Like any awards show however, Sunday’s 61st annual ceremony didn’t go off without a hitch. In case you missed any of the four-hour long action, we’ve rounded up the highlights, the gossip and a healthy amount of social media drama.

When they cut Drake’s speech off 

Perhaps in the biggest plot-twist of the night, Drake—who has notoriously boycotted previous Grammy ceremonies—actually showed up to collect his trophy for best rap song.

Celebrating the hit single God’s Plan from his 2018 album Scorpion, the rapper took the opportunity to remind his fellow artists that the Grammy’s do not a winner make.

“The point is you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown,” he said.

“Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won. But—”

Drake was then cut off as the telecast went to a commercial, leaving viewers furious at the interruption.

Cardi B makes history

Cardi B won the best rap album award for her debut Invasion of Privacy, beating out Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and the late Mac Miller, and becoming the first solo woman to take home the trophy.

The rapper gave an emotional speech that touched on her pregnancy and daughter, who was born in July.

“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.”

Ariana Grande tweeted and then deleted a series of insults as Cardi B took the stage, beating Grande’s late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller to the trophy. The singer called Miller’s snub “trash” and “literal bullshit,” before writing “sry” and deleting the posts.

Grande clarified afterwards that her tweets had “nothing to do w [Cardi]. Good for her. I promise. I’m sorry,” and called someone out for calling Cardi “trash”: “she’s not at all and that’s not what I meant and u know that,” she wrote in another, now-deleted tweet.

In a video recorded backstage at the ceremony and posted to Instagram, Cardi B dedicated her win to Miller, promising that she was “sharing this Grammy” with the late rapper.

Ariana drama 

The night also saw Grande win her first Grammy award for best pop vocal album with her record Sweetener. After a public spat with the show’s producer however, the star took to Instagram to confirm that she would not be attending the ceremony.

“I know I’m not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things…this is wild and beautiful. Thank you so much. I love u,” she wrote on Sunday. 

Last week, the singer accused the organizer of the Grammys of lying about her reasons for withdrawing from a performance at the ceremony.

Grande still managed to steal the spotlight during the show however, dropping a series of photos that revealed her wearing her custom Zac Posen gown, which had been made for the event, around her house.

Women take center stage

This year, 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys led the show, stepping up as the first female host since Queen Latifah took on the role in 2005. Keeping the focus of the show on her love for music, she also enforced its female inclusivity. Last year’s ceremony was criticized for side-lining women, something that Keys was keen to address.

The star’s “sisters,” Lady Gaga, Jada Pinket-Smith and Jennifer Lopez, were invited onto the stage to each tell a personal story of how music changed their life and were joined by a certain former First Lady.

In a surprise appearance, Michelle Obama was forced to restart her speech, after her initial attempts were drowned out by applause.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the Who Run The World songs that fueled me through the last decade, music helps me tell my story,” she said.

“Music helps us share ourselves, our dignities and our sorrows. Music shows us all of it matters, every story with every voice, every note in every song.”

Captioning a photo of the group that she posted to Twitter, the former First Lady said she showed up for her close friend Alicia Keys—“one of the most genuine and thoughtful people [she knows].” 

Powerful performances

Our favorite performances of the night included Alicia Keys’ piano medley on two pianos (at the same time), Dua Lipa and St. Vincent’s seriously cool collaboration with Masseduction/One Kiss, Lady Gaga’s theatrical performance of Shallow and Kacey Musgraves serene version of Rainbow.

In answer to the question: “Was Jennifer Lopez the right person to choose to do a Motown tribute?” We think not.

Big winners 

Childish Gambino took three of the night’s biggest awards—record of the year, song of the year and video of the year—for his track This Is America. The song became the first hip-hop track to win song of the year, with Alicia Keys and John Mayer accepting the award when the rapper and actor didn’t turn up to the ceremony.

Lady Gaga also won big, accepting two awards for the soundtrack for the movie A Star Is Born. Gaga used her speech to discuss the importance of opening up about mental health, revealing that she was “so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues” and adding: “We gotta take care of each other. So if you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away.”

While her co-star Bradley Cooper represented the film at the BAFTAs, Gaga bagged a further trophy for best vocal performance for Joanne.

Kacey Musgraves triumphed by winning album of the year and Dua Lipa was the only British artist to take home a trophy in a major category. Accepting her two trophies, Lipa made a small dig at the Recording Academy, thanking “all the incredible female artists” and saying “I guess we’ve really stepped up.” 

You can find a complete list of winners here.

Further reading: Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host

Mac Miller Death

Mac Miller’s Death is Tragic—But It’s Not Ariana Grande’s Fault

American rapper Mac Miller died of an alleged drug overdose on September 7. He was just 26 years old. Miller had suffered with substance abuse since the age of 15, famously admitting to Noisy that using drugs was “dangerous, dude. But they’re awesome”. The announcement shook the core of the music industry and, although I wasn’t an avid fan, it shook me. Not only did the industry lose an intelligent, energetic talent, but his death comes at an age so close to my own that it’s also a frightening reminder of my own mortality.

In a statement, Miller’s family described him as “a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans.” Meanwhile, close friends and colleagues took to the Twittersphere to obituarise the young star. Post Malone said, “You changed so many lives. Had so much love in your heart…Never a more kind and sincere and beautiful person”, while singer Charlie Puth said, “I can’t keep losing friends like this…I wish I spent more time with you these past weeks…I’m so sorry”.

Yet, erupting through these mournful messages almost as quickly as the news broke, was a more sinister and dangerous narrative: The blame for Miller’s death, in the eyes of some, was not his history of substance abuse or his mental health, but his ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande.

In a now edited article by TMZ, the outlet that first reported the death, a reporter wrote: “Miller has had trouble recently with substance abuse…in the wake of his breakup with Ariana Grande.” Fans of the rapper flooded the internet to lay blame at Grande’s feet. One Twitter user was reported by UNILAD as saying, “@ArianaGrande look what you did to Mac Miller! He needed support and you weren’t there for him so he could move on. Instead you got engaged with another after two weeks of dating just to f**k with Mac Miller!” Another said, “[…] Yeah I get why he would be upset and why he would wanna take drugs bc drugs stop all of the pain for a while. So honestly it is sorta her [Grande’s] fault”. Grande has since deactivated the comments section on her Instagram account following a surge of misogynistic, hateful and relentless abuse hurled at her following his death.

Elsewhere, global news outlets published loud headlines referring to the K.I.D.S artist as simply “Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend”. These shamelessly shifted the attention to Grande, which diminishes Miller’s legacy as an accomplished musician, producer and artist, to simply the ex-boyfriend of a famous pop star.

“Headlines referring to Miller as ‘Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend’ diminish his legacy as an accomplished musician, producer and artist to simply the ex-boyfriend of a famous pop star”

Grande also faced similar online harassment at the hands of Miller’s fans after a hit and run incident that occurred in May 2018. More recently, when cameras caught the moment a pastor touched Grande’s breast at Aretha Franklin’s funeral earlier this month, many focused instead on the length of her dress—as if that was the reason such atrocious behavior occurred.

Grande isn’t the first woman to be demonized for refusing to shoulder and absorb the trauma and behaviors of men. Yoko Ono was famously blamed for the breakup of the Beatles. Rock star Courtney Love is still blamed for her husband Kurt Cobain’s drug addiction and subsequent suicide, too—a deeply harmful phenomenon that blurts out the expectation that women are obligated caretakers.

“Grande isn’t the first woman to be demonized for refusing to shoulder and absorb the trauma and behaviors of men”

Should Grande have stayed with the rapper to see him recover from his addictions before moving on? Absolutely not—especially at the expense of her own mental wellbeing—and she shouldn’t have to feel guilt for it either. It seems it’s easier to ignore the glaring, complicated and insidious disease that is addiction than it is to blame one single person—much easier if it’s an ex.