By now it’s become cliché—that mildly awkward, teary moment when an artist says she can’t accept a prestigious award from her industry peers. The artist inevitably does though, and in the process she thanks all of the people she’s supposed to thank, including the person she bested that night. So it went with Adele at Sunday’s 59th annual Grammy awards. But this time felt palpably different.
For weeks, talk centered on little else besides the battle between Adele and Beyoncé, two well-respected, supremely talented women who still sell out stadiums and move millions of albums. Upon sweeping the big three–record, album, and song of the year–a very emotional, perhaps uncomfortable Adele called Beyoncé the artist of her life, telling her that she made both her and her black friends feel empowered.
Surrounded by a suited, all-male army of producers, musicians and engineers, Adele appeared unsure whether she truly deserved the triple honor bestowed upon her—one she had also achieved five years prior. In the not so recent past, a black artist losing all of the major awards to a white artist might have seemed like business as usual at the Grammys. But given the volatile, highly charged political climate of late, the sting was more pronounced.
Earlier in the evening, both Adele and Beyoncé gave standout performances, Beyoncé’s remarkable for her rapturous visuals and speech advocating pride for “every child of every race” following her win for best urban contemporary album. Adele, meanwhile, gave a sexy, slowed-down tribute to the late George Michael, dropping an expletive and asking the producers to start again despite being live.
Adele’s bleeped F-bomb was the closest she got to controversy this go-round. The same did not hold true for A Tribe Called Quest, who arguably gave the evening’s most rousing performance, which included raised fists and chants of “Resist.” A diverse group, including women wearing the hijab, joined them on stage for the song “We the People.” Before it was over, fellow performer Busta Rhymes would thank Donald Trump for “perpetuating all of the evil” and refer to him as “President Agent Orange.”
Tribe weren’t the only ones to take up the call to arms: Paris Jackson gave a “No DAPL” shout-out ahead of introducing The Weeknd, while Katy Perry sported a Planned Parenthood pin on her lapel and a “PERSIST” arm band, presumably a nod to Elizabeth Warren, during her performance of “Chained to the Rhythm.”
Still, as far as enviable accessories go, credit must be given to where it’s due, especially these days. Our personal favorite was Rihanna’s silver flask, caught on camera throughout the night and sipped from only semi-surreptitiously.END
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createdAt:Thu, 30 Mar 2017 16:08:17 +0000