Moving through music

The 60th annual Grammy Awards provided a voice for the oppressed through shows of support, emotional performances and moving speeches

By on January 31, 2018

A night of nostalgia and empowerment, The 60th annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 28 celebrated the best in the music industry in New York City for the first time in 15 years. This event tackled important issues recently gracing headlines including the “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” movements, diversity, suicide prevention, gun violence and immigration.

Actors and actresses have been making statements in their wardrobe in solidarity with the “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” movements against sexual assault and inequality of women including wearing all black for the Golden Globes on Jan. 7. The Grammys were no different with supporters of the movement donned in white roses to pledge their stand on “Time’s Up.”

“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace,” the ‘Time’s Up’ official website says. “It’s time to do something about it.”

Kesha heightened viewers’ emotions performing her song “Praying” written about her triumph over sexual assault allegedly by her producer. Behind her stood a chorus of women in white, including familiar faces like Cyndi Lauper and Camila Cabello hugging Kesha afterwards for her raw, emotional performance.

In fact, people took to social media saying she should have been the winner of “Best Pop Solo Performance” over winner Ed Sheeran for his song “Shape of You,” according to USA Today.

“’Ed Sheeran’ is a hell of a way to mispronounce ‘Kesha,’” Twitter user @MarcSneitker said.

In a category that nominated mostly women, people were angry when Sheeran took home the Grammy.

“So Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ just won against Kesha’s ‘Praying,’ a song about her victory over sexual assault, if that doesn’t sum up the #grammys what does,” Twitter user @electraslust wrote.

In fact, Alessia Cara, winner of “Best New Artist,” was the only woman to accept an award during the telecast. This sparked the hashtag #GrammysSoMale.

A stunned Grammys host, James Corden, thanked Kesha for her performance immediately following.

“Music often resonates more than spoken word ever could,” he said. “That was incredibly powerful and relevant performance that comes in the midst of a movement that demands our attention and our support.”

Another female nominee for “Best Pop Solo Performance,” Pink, amazed audiences with her performance of “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.” Pink is known for her jaw-dropping aerial performances, however, this time her voice did all the flying.

“There’s not enough rope to tie me down,” she sang. “There’s not enough tape to shut this mouth/ The stones you throw can make me bleed/ But I won’t stop until we’re free.”

Wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, Pink’s performance was simplistic, but made a lasting impact. A microphone and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter was all she needed to sing her powerful words supporting the empowerment of women.

Logic even mentioned the empowerment of women and many of the important issues addressed at the awards show this year in his speech during his performance of “1-800-273-8255. “ He wrote this song to raise awareness for suicide prevention featuring Cara and Quinnipiac’s Wake the Giant headliner this year, Khalid.

“Black is beautiful,” Logic said. “Hate is ugly. Women are precious as they are stronger than any man I’ve ever met. And unto them I say stand tall and crush all predators under the weight of your heart that is full of the love they will never take away from you. Be not afraid to use your voice! Especially in instances like these when you have the opportunity.”

The Grammys’ opening act, Kendrick Lamar, was another performer to make a statement, but this one was political. The performance began with U.S. soldiers stomping with projections of the American flag on the screens and Lamar performing “XXX.” Comedian Dave Chappelle interjected after the words, “This is a satire by Kendrick Lamar” appeared on the screens.

“Hi, I’m Dave Chappelle,” the comedian said. “And 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.”

The most resonating part of the performance was the sound of gunshots as the dancers fell one by one.

Lamar won four Grammys this year including “Best Rap Album,” “Best Rap Song,” “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.”

A group of country performers also paid tribute to those lost from gun violence in addition to bombings in the past year. Maren Morris, Eric Church and Brothers Osborne performed Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” in remembrance of those who were killed in Manchester, England and Las Vegas.

With a three-hour broadcast focused heavily on serious issues, Corden lightened the mood with “consolation puppies” for those who did not win the “Best Comedy Album” category and brought laughs by featuring Hillary Clinton reading “Fire and Fury” about President Donald Trump in a mock “audio recording audition.”

There was a sense of nostalgia that lingered all night long. In celebration of 60 years, the Grammys featured timeless acts like Elton John, U2 and Patti LuPone. During the first award of the night, presenters John Legend and Tony Bennett sang a quick duet of “New York, New York.” Pairing the new generation of music stars with some of the legendaries was a recurring theme and those collaborations did not disappoint.

Killer performances by Lady Gaga, Childish Gambino and Bruno Mars with Cardi B were few of the many that did not disappoint. Bruno Mars took home six Grammys including some of the biggest categories including, “Album of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Record of the Year.”

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About Lindsay Pytel

Associate Arts and Life Editor