The Grammys returns to NYC

Bruno Mars holds his award he won at the annual Grammys. Photo from

Story by Margaret Debenport, staff writer

The Grammy Awards have come a very long way from their first show in 1958. With the original record of the year “Mack the Knife,” to this year’s “24k Magic,” the evolution of music is presented in no better way.

Opening music’s biggest night on its return to New York City is no simple task, yet Kendrick Lamar proved himself more than deserving for the Best Rap Album of the Year Award. “Killing” his dancers one by one with gunshots, Lamar brought important topics of racial inequality and violence in America to the Grammy stage and was awarded with a standing ovation.

Lady Gaga gave a very emotional performance in which she played the piano while singing songs from her album “Joanne.” Less than ten minutes after a jaw dropping performance, Kendrick Lamar received his first award of the night for best rap/ sung performance for the song “Loyalty” featuring Rihanna.

The Best New Artist category was filled with amazing talents that are bringing new sounds to pop culture. Although Alessia Cara won the coveted award, nominees SZA and Khalid went on to give powerful performances throughout the night.

The song that broke all the global records, “Despacito,” was performed by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. Following the bright performance, nominee for Album of the Year, Childish Gambino wowed the crowd with a heartfelt rendition of his song “Terrified.”

The man of the night, Bruno Mars, and Cardi B. performed their hit “Finesse,” just before Dave Chappelle won the award for Best Comedy Album of the Year, which has not previously been televised.

Performed by DJ Khaled, Rihanna, and Bryson Tiller in a vintage stage setting complete with dancers all dressed to theme, “Wild Thoughts,” was one of the most fun performances of the night.

Every Grammys has its fun, but there are always important messages sent through songs and speeches that need to be broadcast to the world.

On the red carpet, artists wore white roses to symbolize that they are standing with the Time’s Up movement. However, there was great criticism over this due to that fact that women were greatly under-represented in awards with only 17 of 86 awards going to female artist or female led bands.

Kesha sang more than her song Praying on Sunday night. Actress and musician Janelle Monae introduced Kesha with a chill inducing speech that carried the Time’s Up movement from movies to music awards. Joined by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels and the Resistance Revival Chorus, Kesha went on stage to carry her come back message loud and proud.

Just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo a culture that does not serve us well,” singer Janelle Monae said.

In memory of the 81 lives of music fans taken at tragic events in Las Vegas and Manchester, country stars Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne and Eric Church gave a mournful tribute in front of lanterns with the victims names on them through the song “Tears in Heaven.”

Camila Cabello introduced U2 with a brief but powerful speech on the current situation imposed on immigrants in America, and encouraged the dreamers that immigrated here to continue dreaming.

Bruno Mars won Song of the Year for “That’s What I Like,” and shortly after, some of the best known artists of the time and Hillary Clinton took a stab at spoken word in a satirical short that poked fun at Donald Trump. While reading “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff- John Legend, Cher, Cardi B and Snoop Dogg, to name a few, laughed and sang at the hilarious bits of the president’s life they had been asked to read.

Elton John made a return to the Grammys stage with Miley Cyrus to sing one of his most famous songs, “Tiny Dancer.” Ben Platt and Patti LuPone represented the lasting legacy Broadway has had on New York City, and the music industry as a whole.

The Grammy nominated song “1-800-273-8255” by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. During the performance, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline was projected all over the stage and as rapper Logic gave a speech empowering women and criticizing racism.

Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly. Women are as precious as they are stronger than any man I have ever met. And unto them, I say stand tall and crush all predators under the weight of your heart that is full of the love they will never take away from you,” rapper Logic said.

To close the night, Bruno Mars beat out stars Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, and Jay-Z to win Album of the Year. This came as a shock to many critics that had predicted Lamar’s up front rap to take the award. The previous Grammy’s trend of awards not truly representing the American culture seemed to pour over into this year, but there is always hope for the next time Music’s biggest night is broadcast.