By Jordan Norkus
Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Sunday, Jan. 28, The Recording Academy presented the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
The ceremony was broadcasted live on the CBS network from Madison Square Garden in New York City and was hosted by English actor, comedian, television host and singer, James Corden for the second year in a row.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar opened the ceremony by performing “XXX” and “DNA.” The performance featured rock band U2, a digitally waving American flag, background dancers dressed as army soldiers, and a commentary from stand-up comedian, Dave Chappelle. Both songs were from Lamar’s latest studio album, “DAMN.,” which won the Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album.”
“This is a special award because of rap music,” said Lamar. “Most importantly, it showed me a true definition of what being an artist was. From the jump, I thought it was about about the accolades, the cars and the clothes, but it’s really about expressing yourself and putting that paint on the canvas for the world to evolve for the next listener, the next generation after that.”
Lamar won four other awards: “Best Rap Performance,” “Best Rap Song” and “Best Music Video” for his single, “HUMBLE.,” and “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” for his single, “LOYALTY.,” featuring Rihanna.
Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars won the most awards at the Grammys—taking home all six of the awards he was nominated for. The awards included: “Best R&B Performance,” “Best R&B Song” and “Song of the Year” for his single, “That’s What I Like,” “Best R&B Album” and “Album of the Year” for his third studio album, “24K Magic,” and “Record of the Year” for his single, “24K Magic.”
On the other hand, rapper Jay-Z received the most Grammy nominations, but did not win in any of the eight categories he was nominated for.
Some other award winners included Ed Sheeran for “Best Pop Solo Performance” and “Best Pop Vocal Album,” The Weeknd for “Best Urban Contemporary Album,” Chris Stapleton for “Best Country Album,” “Best Country Solo Performance” and “Best Country Song,” and The War on Drugs for “Best Rock Album.”
Alessia Cara won “Best New Artist” and was the only female nominee to take home a major Grammy Award. This was one of the many things that lead to controversy on social media. During the ceremony, #GrammysSoMale started trending on Twitter.
“A total of 90.7% of nominees between 2013 and 2018 were male,” said singer-actress Janelle Monáe on Twitter. “Meaning just 9.3% were women.”
As she introduced singer-songwriter Kesha, Monáe also brought up and another movement that has been trending in popular culture: Time’s Up.
“We come in peace but we mean business. To those who would dare try to silence us, we offer two words: Time’s Up,” said Monáe. “It’s not just going in Hollywood. It’s not just going on in Washington. It’s right here in our industry as well. Let’s work together, women and men, as a united music industry committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay, and access for all women.”
During Kesha’s performance of her single, “Praying,” she was joined on stage by the Resistance Revival Chorus, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Bebe Rexha—all dressed in white.
The Associated Press reported that dozens attendees wore white roses in support of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements against sexual abuse and harassment.
Kesha’s performance wasn’t the only performance that moved audience members and viewers.
Country artists Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne performed Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” in honor of the victims at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas and the bombing outside of Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England. They all performed with the names of the victims displayed behind them.
“The painful truth is that this year, in just those two events, 81 music lovers, just like us, went out to enjoy a night of music and never came back home,” said Morris.
The 60th Annual Grammy Award Ceremony was also a night of political controversy.
Corden aired a pre-recorded skit that featured Hillary Clinton, John Legend, Cher, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B, and DJ Khaled reading lines from Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Although Clinton received loud applause from audience members, some viewers at home weren’t too pleased with the comedic skit.
“I have always loved the Grammys, but to have artists read the ‘Fire and Fury’ book killed it,” said United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. “Don’t ruin great music with trash. Some of us love music without the politics thrown in it.”
However, the Associated Press reported that President of The Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, felt that Clinton’s appearance was more satirical than political.
“The excerpts that were read from the book weren’t really political,” said Portnow. “We have a history of pointing out funny things, unusual things about our leadership.”
The politics didn’t end there.
The Associated Press also reported that Cabello, a Cuban-Mexican immigrant from Havana, spoke about the American dream in a “thinly veiled” reference to the Trump administration’s policies on immigration.
“Today, in this room full of music’s dreamers, we remember that this country was built by dreamers, for dreamers, chasing the American dream,” said Cabello. “I’m here on this stage tonight because, just like the dreamers, my parents brought me to this country with nothing in their pockets but hope. They showed me what it means to work twice as hard and never give up. And honestly no part of my journey is any different from theirs.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.