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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Reflections on the 2019 Grammys

Photo from Getty Images

By Alisha Dixon

The Grammys have always held a special place in my heart. Since I was young, curling up with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn at the TV to see which of my favorite artists and albums will win has been a yearly ritual for me. Now as a college student living without cable, my ritual has changed slightly and keeping up to date through live streams and tweets has been all the more fun.  

Following critiques for lack of diversity in previous years, 2019s 61st Annual Grammy Awards winners were notably women and black artists. Childish Gambino’s win for “This Is America” made history with it being the first rap song in history to win Record of the Year. Cardi B became the first solo female artist to win Best Rap Album (which she recorded during long late-night studio sessions while pregnant, I may add). Best New Artist winner Dua Lipa also made comments during her acceptance speech referencing Recording Academy President Neil Portnow’s suggestion for women artists to “step up” last year. In 2018s ceremony, only one woman accepted an award during the televised show.  

“Where I want to begin is by saying how honored I am to be nominated alongside so many incredible female artists this year because I guess this year we’ve really stepped up,” Dua Lipa said. Major shade thrown, but no lies detected.

This year several of my personal favorite artists came out on top with awards, including Daniel Caesar, Lady Gaga and Album of the Year winner Kacey Musgraves.  

Country pop babe Kacey Musgraves won not only the Grammy for Album of the Year, but three other Grammy’s as well, including Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. This combination of awards won repeated history, as Taylor Swift won the same combination in 2009 when the infamous Kanye West incident happened. Free of any “Imma let you finish but,” moments, the night was surely a peak for Musgrave’s career thus far.  

Even as a huge fan of Kacey Musgraves, I was disappointed with Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” not winning Album of the Year. Monae’s album was groundbreaking. As an album of black female LGBTQ+ empowerment as well as musical excellence, having “Dirty Computer” as Album of the Year would have been a great moment for visibility of artists in multiple minority groups.

Though regardless, this year’s Grammys was one for the books. The progress being made for representation and visibility in mainstream music is inching toward a better picture, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s nominees.  


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