At last night’s 2018 Grammy Awards, men and women of color made significant strides in achieving equitable representation for their music, specifically in the rap and R&B categories. Opening the Grammys, Kendrick Lamar performed “XXX” and received four awards, including best rap performance for “HUMBLE” and best rap/sung performance with Rihanna for “LOYALTY.”
Childish Gambino, the stage name for writer and actor Donald Glover, performed during the show and won best traditional R&B performance for “Redbone,” and The Weeknd won for best urban contemporary album for “Starboy.”The standout artist of the night, however, was Bruno Mars, who won six awards, including album of the year and best R&B album for “24K Magic.”
During his acceptance speeches, Mars told the audience about his childhood as a 13-year-old boy singing and performing in Hawaii, as a way of explaining what he wanted his album to be. Mars told listeners that wanted his album to “unite people from different sides of the globe through song,” which was the overarching theme of this year’s Grammys.
Even though Camilla Cabello was not nominated, as a Cuban-American immigrant herself, she was there to show support for DACA, which has been besieged after ostensibly being the reason the government shut down on Jan. 22. When she eloquently spoke about her hometown, many people in the audience clapped and agreed that people from different backgrounds need to be celebrated in America.
In addition to Cabello’s passionate entreaties, Logic, Alessia Cara (who won best new artist) and Khalid performed “1-800-273-8255,” and Logic made a speech after the performance supporting the #MeToo movement and the DACA bill, saying to immigrants, “You are not shitholes.”
Although men of color dominated the Grammys, critics were quick to point out the dearth of female award-winners, leading to the rise of the #GrammysSoMale hashtag. Lorde was the only female nominee for album of the year, for “Melodrama,” and even though SZA received five nominations, she left the night empty-handed.
While the 60th Grammy Awards showed signs of progress in terms of racial parity, there is still work to be done when it comes to gender representation.