Women shine at the Sixty-first Annual Grammy Awards


The sixty-first annual Recording Academy Grammy Awards aired Sunday, February 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Grammys is a notable night in the music industry with musical performances from artists nominated for awards. Alicia Keys, 15-time Grammy winner, hosted the awards show. The night consisted of performances by Dolly Parton and Diana Ross and continued with tributes to Motown and the late Aretha Franklin. The night ended with significant upsets in major categories, such as Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year. The recognition of female artists as the top contenders in major categories such as Record of the Year and Album of the Year was very prominent this year, according to forbes.com.

Lady Gaga, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Keys, Mrs. Obama, and Ms. Lopez speaking during the opening of the Sixty-first Annual Grammy Awards. Courtesy of The New York Times

Camila Cabello, performed “Havana” to open the show. The host, Alicia Keys’s opening speech promoted the music and the power of women in the industry. 

“Music is what we all love, music is what it’s all about. Everybody is out here shining, and I’m so proud to bring us together to honor this moment because music is what we cry to, it’s what we march to, it’s what we rock to, it’s what we make love to” Mrs. Keys said.  “It’s our shared global language.” 

She continued by bringing out Stefani Germanotta otherwise known as Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez. All the women explained what music meant to them and the importance of music in the world.

“Music has always helped me tell my story. It allows us to hear one another to invite each other in,” Mrs. Obama said. “Music shows us that all of it matters — every story within every voice, every note within every song.”

Lady Gaga earned the first televised award of the night, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for her critically acclaimed song, “Shallow” from the major motion picture, A Star is Born. Her song also won the award for Best Song Written for Visual Media earlier in the evening. Previously, Lady Gaga won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for her song “Shallow.” 

Alicia Keys and John Mayer announced the winner of the anticipated, Song of the Year award. The winner of the award was Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, for, “This is America.” Earlier in the night, Glover won Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Music Video for the same song. 

The Recording Academy honored Dolly Parton with the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year Award. She made history by being the first country singer to ever receive this recognition, according to grammys.com.

Ms. Parton and Mrs. Cyrus singing “Jolene” during her Grammy’s tribute. Courtesy of The New York Times

The first performers to honor Parton were Katheryn Hudson otherwise known as Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves. Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus teamed up to sing  “Jolene.” Joining the two on stage, country singer Mandy Morris and country group Little Big Town sang a group song with Parton. Finally, all the artists singing tributes to Parton joined her on the stage to sing her popular song, “9 to 5.”

The night carried on with a performance by Belcalis Almánzar, otherwise known as Cardi B, singing her hit, “Money.” She later went on to receive the award for Best Rap Album for her album Invasion of Privacy, making her the first woman ever to win the award.    

Alicia Keys continued the night by playing two pianos at once and calling the award show “Club Key’s.” She covered songs such as Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song,”

Jarad Higgins otherwise known as Juice Wrld’s  “Lucid Dreams,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” King of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” Aubrey Graham, also known as Drake’s “In My Feelings,” Ella Mai’s “Boo’d up,” Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop,” and finished with one of her own songs, “Empire State of Mind (New York).”

“Music is just, you know, those songs that just live inside of you,” Key’s said “It lives inside of me. And you just love it so much because it was done so well that you wish you wrote it. That’s how I feel about these songs. I wish I wrote them.” 
The Recording Academy also honored Diana Ross at this year’s Grammys for her landmark career and her contributions to music with a special “75th Diamond Diana Birthday” performance. Ross’s nine-year-old grandson, Raif-Henok introduced her to the stage and commented on how young people can learn from the music legend.

Ms. Ross singing during her 75th Diamond Diana Birthday Celebration. Courtesy of nydailynews.com

Ross, one of the most influential artists and entertainers of our time, has made a significant impact on the music community with an outstanding 42 No. one songs, 91 singles, and 59 albums. She has amassed historical ratings of more than 100 million sales with her recordings, according to grammy.com.

She performed her popular songs “Best Years of My Life” and “Reach Out and Touch” for her birthday tribute.

“Thank you for being here to celebrate my 75th birthday!” Ross said. “You can lead the way. Learn. Dream. All is possible with music.”

As the night continued, Lady Gaga performed her two-time Grammy-winning song “Shallow.” Earlier in the evening, she won Best Pop Solo Performance for her song “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin?)” from her studio album Joanne

William “Smokey” Robinson and Alicia Keys sang “Track of My Tears” to celebrate the 60th year of Motown. Other stars who joined them were Jennifer Lopez and Shaffer Smith also called Ne-Yo. The stars sang ten Motown songs dedicated to artists including Diana Ross and The Jackson 5.

The female winning streak continued with Ms. Dua Lipa, who won the Best New Artist Award. In her acceptance speech, she dedicated her album to individuality and confidence.

“Just know that no matter where you’re from or your background or what you believe in, never let that get in the way of you and your dreams because you deserve it,” Ms. Lipa said.

The evening also paid tribute to the late Aretha Franklin with stars including Yolanda Adams, Fantasia Barrino, Cassandra Batie, also known as Andra Day, singing Franklin’s popular song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women.”

One of the final awards of the evening, Record of the Year, was awarded to Childish Gambino for his song “This is America.” His is the first rap song to win this prestigious award. He was not there to receive his award, but his music producers accepted the award on his behalf.

Finally, Alicia Keys announced the most coveted award of the evening, the Album of the Year award. Kacey Musgrave won the award for her album Golden Hours

“Women have a really necessary perspective — to life, to music. It’s really nice to see that getting a chance to be included.” Mrs. Musgraves said. “I would have nothing without the songs. To me, it’s just all about songs.”