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Eminem makes a statement with controversial Grammy performance
The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards were held on Wednesday, Februrary 21, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Jon Stewart, comedian host of the Daily Show, hosted the awards after Whoopi Goldberg backed out a few weeks ago.
Typical of the host’s initial monologue, Stewart took time to address the current controversies surrounding certain artists. He commented on Puff Daddy’s trial and said that although Puffy could not make it, he sent the message, “It is an honor just to be indicted.”
This year’s awards were characterized by an electric group of performances. Madonna started the show with a hyped up performance of the first single of her new album of the same name, “Music.” Lil Bow Wow drove Madonna’s limo onstage and helped her out of the car, wearing a sparkled “Material Girl” tank top. As her new husband Guy Ritchie looked on, she jumped on the hood of the limo and danced Ricky Martin style.
U2 has arrived on the music scene once again, and performed their new single “Beautiful Day.” They went home with two Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
As usual, *NSYNC performed a romantic renditian of “This I Promise You,” where everything onstage was black and white except for the five guys. Although they looked as if they were dressed for the circus, and Justin no longer has any hair, the boys were recieved well by the crowd.
As for the actual awards, there were many upsets and surprises. For Best Pop Vocal Album, Steely Dan won for “Two Against Nature.” Steely Dan who?? They beat out *NSYNC’s “No Stringed Attached,” the modern rulers of pop who sold millions of records world-wide!
The Best R&B performance award was given to Destiny’s Child for “Say My Name.” The award for Best R&B Album went to D’Angelo for “Voodoo.”
Faith Hill went home with three Grammys, one of them for Best Country Album, after a beautiful performance of “Breathe.”
Columbian singer Shakira, won the award for Best Latin Pop Album, beating Christina Aguilera’s “Mi Reflejo” and boxer, turned singer, Oscar de la Hoya’s debut album.
A historical event was witnessed by those who watched this year’s Grammys. They presented the very first award for Native American music. Tom Bee and Douglas Spotted Eagle won the award for their album “Gathering of Nations Pow Wow.”
The focus of controversy at this year’s Grammy Awards was none other than the “Bad Boy of Rap,” Eminem. Weeks before the ceremony, rumors were flying about the possibility of Eminem not even showing up. Soon after, there were rumors about a possible performance of “Stan” with Elton John.
The anticipation of this performance grew to the extreme in the weeks prior to the awards. Of course it was the very last performance of the night. Michael Greene, President of the Recording Academy, had the pleasure of introducing Eminem after his commentary about tolerance.
“Of late, the controversy over extreme lyrics has been a heat seeking missile, and it’s important to remember that the academy is not here to defend or villify, commercialize or censor art, “he said. “We can’t edit out the art that makes us uncomfortable. Most of the adults who pass judgement have never listened to, or more importantly, never engaged their kids about the object of their contempt. ”
With that said, Eminem, who is percieved as a homophobe, and Elton John, who is openly gay, came together to perform “Stan.”
After the performance, Eminem walked over to Elton John and gave him a hug, and then proceeded to give the audience the finger.
Eminem proved popular despite the controversy, as he won Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance. As he accepted the award he said, “I want to thank everybody who could look past the controversy and seeing the album for what it was and also for what it isn’t.”
Although Eminem’s album, “The Marshall Mathers LP,” was nominated for Album of the Year, most feel the award was stolen from him when Steely Dan won.
Dr. Dre, who won two Grammys for Producer of the Year and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, told Access Hollywood, “To be perfectly honest, I think we were robbed. It was probably something the Grammys had to do because of the backlash they were going to get for giving him the award.”
Michael Greene disagreed saying, “I don’t think the content of Eminem’s album had anything to do with it. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been nominated or won the other Grammys. The voters truly don’t care what the critics think or how they’re perceived.”
Eminem appreciated the recognition, but that was not what he was looking for by attending the awards. “I didn’t really come to the Grammys to collect trophies. I came to make an impact, I came to make a statement, and I guess to piss some people off.”
The live version of “Stan” with Elton John will soon be released as a benefit single. Part of the proceeds will go to Musicares, established by the Academy in 1989 to offer emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery programs to musicians.
Looking back at his performance, Eminem commented, “If I didn’t make a statement with Elton John tonight, I don’t know what else to do.”