As one of the biggest award ceremonies of 2023, the 65th-annual Grammy Awards — the Recording Academy of the U.S. recognition of the past year’s exceptional achievements in the music industry — had both highlights and snubs. Here are some of the biggest takeaways of the night.
1. The Grammys are still overwhelmingly white
The Grammys has been under fire for decades for its biases against artists of color to win the award. In recent years, some of the most memorable examples of this are Beck winning Album of the Year for “Morning Phase” over Beyoncé’s self-titled album in 2015, as well as The Weeknd’s 2021 snub for “After Hours.”
Despite trying to navigate away from this reputation, the problem was highlighted by Harry Styles’ victory speech for Album of the Year when he said “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.” Although Styles likely meant to allude to his humble beginnings as a contestant on The X Factor, the quote can leave a bad taste in the audience’s mouth after realizing that a Black woman hasn’t won Album of the Year since 1999 in Lauryn Hill. Styles’ “Harry’s House” triumphed over Beyoncé, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, Adele, Brandi Carlile and ABBA.
2. Beyoncé becomes most decorated Grammys winner
After Sunday’s ceremony, Beyoncé now holds the most wins of any artist in the history of the Grammys with 32 total awards. Beyoncé led the night with nine nominations for “Renaissance” and won four. Over the course of her career, Beyoncé has accumulated 88 nominations. However, she has yet to win Album of the Year, despite being nominated four times. At 41 years old, Beyoncé has accomplished what many artists dream to achieve.
3. Latin music makes its way into mainstream American culture
Puerto Rican hip-hop artist Bad Bunny made history Sunday as the first ever Spanish-language artist to be nominated for Album of the Year. He opened the award show with the energy and vibrancy craved after years of lackluster performances. He also walked away with a Grammy for Best M ú sica Urbana Album — an honor given to artists for vocal or instrumental Latin albums.
Overall, his performance and nominations were a win for the Latin community. Bad Bunny currently has over 65 million monthly listeners on Spotify, making him the 13th-most listened to artist in the world. Bad Bunny is a trailblazer rejuvenating the music industry and rewriting the place of Latin music in the U.S.
4. Kendrick Lamar got the recognition he deserved
Lamar deservedly won the Grammy for Best Rap Album for “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” over Pusha T, Jack Harlow, Future and DJ Khaled. He has won the award three times total, and this year, he was the most nominated male artist at the Grammys with eight. One of these nominations was for the coveted Album of the Year, which he lost to Styles.
Although Lamar received many nominations, a hip-hop artist hasn’t taken home Album of the Year in nearly 20 years, resulting in significant outcry when “To Pimp a Butterfly” lost to Taylor Swift’s “1989” in 2016. Despite this, Lamar continues to prove himself as one of the biggest names in the music industry today.
5. Kim Petras and Sam Smith’s make history for LGBTQ+ community
Sam Smith and Kim Petras won the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Unholy.” Smith, who is non-binary, gave the floor to Petras to accept the award.
“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award, because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said. “I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open.”
The win serves as a huge moment for the transgender community especially and will hopefully open the door for other transgender musicians and artists as a whole.
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