It was a historic, triumphant night for ladies in music at the 2021 Grammys, as a variety of female artists took home the highest awards. HER took home song of the year for the Black Lives Matter anthem I Can’t Breathe, Taylor Swift became the primary woman to win album of the year 3 times , and therefore the rapper Megan Thee Stallion won both best new artist and best rap performance for her Savage remix with Beyoncé, now the foremost awarded singer (male or female) and feminine artist of all time.
The first Grammys from executive producer Ben Winston, 39, best known for turning James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke series into a viral staple and therefore the first new producer since Ken Ehrlich took over the show in 1980, stuck mostly to measure or pre-recorded performances spliced with videos highlighting new, streaming-bolstered stars. The production’s Covid precautions – 6ft-compliant tables and chairs beneath a garlanded outdoor terrace, five separate stages at the l. a. Convention Center, widespread testing – added millions to the show’s budget but helped the show avoid a number of the tech glitches and Zoom awkwardness that plagued last month’s Golden Globes.
The cascade of performances and success for black female artists glossed over a growing wave of criticism over the Grammys’ opaque nomination process, alleged conflicts of interest and years of appearing to snub black artistry. The Canadian artist referred to as The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, led an anti-Grammys chorus including such artists as Zayn and Drake, after his album After Hours, a critical and commercial smash containing the year’s biggest song, Blinding Lights, was surprisingly exclude of nominations. during a statement to the ny Times last week, the Weeknd said he would boycott the awards from now on and direct his record label to not submit his music for future contention, citing the anonymous committees with final say on nominations.
But the controversy mostly stayed outside the frame on Sunday, save a press release within the final 10 minutes from the interim Grammys president, Harvey Mason Jr, promising a renewed diversity effort and calling on artists to “work with us, not against us”. Instead, the 3.5-hour mega-concert was about “bringing us together like only music can”, said the night’s ebullient host, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and “never forgetting what happened in 2020, but hope for what's to come”.
Noah mostly served to line up the roll of performances grouped loosely by genre, from pop/rock (Harry Styles, last year’s Grammy sweeper Billie Eilish, sister-act Haim), to country (Mickey Guyton, performing Black Like Me, a rejoinder to a genre notoriously unwelcoming to black and feminine artists, then Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris with John Mayer)
Bad Bunny – the foremost streamed artist of 2020 – foreshadowed the reopening of clubs during a light tunnel, while Dua Lipa, whose album Future Nostalgia took over early quarantine in 2020, went full Studio 2054 with DaBaby for his or her remix of Levitating.