Rap artists and women have felt shunned by the Grammy Awards in recent years. But this year, they took center stage.
Childish Gambino’s disturbing look at race relations, This is America, won record and song of the year on Feb. 10. It was the first time a rap-based song won both of those awards, considered — with album of the year — the recording industry’s most prestigious.
Kacey Musgraves won top album and matched Childish Gambino with four Grammys in total.
Lady Gaga and Brandi Carlile won three Grammys apiece, and former first lady Michelle Obama was a surprise guest at the top of the show on CBS.
Childish Gambino, the stage name of actor Donald Glover, and another prominent rap nominee, Kendrick Lamar, both declined invitations to perform or attend the show. Some rap artists feel the Grammys have been slow to recognize how the genre now dominates popular music.
This is America was also named best music video. It was directed by Hiro Murai, who was born in Tokyo but moved to the U.S. as a child and is the son of Kunihiko Murai, the composer of the ’70s hit song Tsubasa wo Kudasai.
Obama appeared on the show’s opening to describe the role music had played in women’s lives.
“Music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said. “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. It allows us to hear one another.” (AP)