Last night, the 60th Grammy Awards Ceremony touched the hearts of viewers with their powerful messages of social justice. The event premiered on ABC at the Madison Square Garden in New York City symbolizing its return to the east coast after 15 years. Hundreds of audience members and icons alike gathered to experience passionate performances and speeches from some of the most popular celebrities in the world.
Bruno Mars managed to win both album of the year and record of the year with “24k Magic” and Canadian vocalist, Alessia Cara, won best new artist of the year. The theme of the Grammy’s 60th anniversary celebrated social advocacy with many nominees touching on subjects related to racism, sexual harassment, immigration and suicide awareness.
Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae & Kesha Speak on Sexual Harassment
Lady Gaga performed “Joanne” and “Million Reasons” wearing an elegant white dress with angel wings and teardrop diamond ear rings. After she was done, Gaga departed from the stage by stating “Time’s up,” referring to a growing movement condemning sexual discrimination in the entertainment industry. Singer and producer Janelle Monae came on set shortly after saying, “We come in peace but we mean business. Time’s up for the abuse of power. We have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well.”
This was than followed up by arguably the most emotionally captivating performance by singer Kesha. She was accompanied by the Resistance Revival Chorus, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and Andra Ray in her own “Praying” written about personal experiences with an abusive ex-producer in the industry. Kesha is one of many female entertainers that have become a strong supporter of the #MeToo movement and her performance conveyed so much vulnerability, that it brought much of the crowd to tears, including event Host James Corden.
Kendrick Lamar, Dave Chappelle & U2 Denounce Racism
Not only did rap artist Kendrick Lamar receive 5 awards last night, him and Dave Chappelle sent a powerful message to racism with a 5 song spectacle. U2’s Bono and the Edge joined Kendrick as he prepared for performing “DNA,” another hit single off of his most recent “Damn” album. Before Kendrick could finish, Dave Chappelle stepped in to tell the crowd that, “The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America.”
Lastly, Kendrick performed “King’s Den” from the “Black Panther” soundtrack surrounded by hooded dancers and concealed faces. Dave had to interject once more to ask if Kendrick’s segment was “OK with CBS? Cause it looks like he’s singing and dancing but this brother’s taking enormous chances. Rumble, young man, rumble!” Kendrick’s performance was staged to express social issues related to systematic racism and problems in marginalized communities.
Logic Spreads Message of Love for Immigrants, Women & the Suicidal
Rap artist, Logic, performed his song titled “1-800-273-8255” which is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Line. While wearing shirts that say “You’re not Alone” on the front, Alessia Cara and Khalid joined him in a wholehearted performance followed by an uplifting speech at the end. Saying that regions filled with diversity and rich history are “not shithole countries,” as President Trump was recently accused of saying, but are appreciated and needed in order to create a more united world.
The 28-year-old rapper wrapped up his nearly minute-long speech telling the audience, “I say unto you, bring us the tired, the poor and any immigrant who seeks refuge for together we can build not just a better country but a world that is destined to be united.”
Is the Grammy’s Political Edge Enough to Resurrect its Decreasing TV Viewers?
The Grammys has been experiencing a downfall in ratings over the years after hitting an all-time high of over 39 million viewers in 2012. The year after it fell over ten million in viewership and although 2017 performed slightly better than the 2 years prior, it seems to be struggling with stagnancy. The Grammys aren’t the only ones and all major awards ceremonies have been going through challenges. The Emmys made modest improvements jumping to 11.4 million viewers last year from 11.3 million in 2016. The 2018 Golden Globes experienced a 5% decrease compared to the previous year. Even the Oscars hosted their 3rd least watched event in 2017 and were down 4% in viewership from the year before.
Although TV ratings are down, many viewers are sticking to streaming or social media as the preferred method to stay in the know on awards. For instance, the 2015 VMA Awards experienced reduced TV views but a 70% increase in video streaming. The younger generations tend to move quickly and digest information at their own pace. They don’t seem as compelled to watch an entire program when they could easily see the highlights or receive real-time updates on segments that interest them most.
Syracuse University Professor of Television and Popular Culture, Robert Thompson, told Rotten Tomatoes, “Between the time the Emmys start and when they finish, Netflix will have released three new series. Networks can no longer afford to write off an evening.” Former president of the Television Critics Association, Amber Dowling concurred with Thompson saying, “People still love to tune in to see what people are wearing, but at the same time they could also binge a show while the awards are on and then click through a best and worst photo gallery the next day — on every entertainment [site] — in five minutes.”
The 60th Grammys Awards Will Go Down in History
Aside from the speculation over where awards ceremonies may go or turn into, this year’s Grammy’s was a memorable one. Touching on real life issues that many people can relate to, the event sought to appeal to the growing social justice influence of our modern times. The topics of racism, immigration and sexism continue to grow and the Grammys positioned themselves to connect with their viewers on an even deeper level. We will have to wait and see the outcome of this year’s ratings to confirm if they’re making any progress.
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