Tue, Feb 12, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Women, rap win big at the Grammy Awards

Female acts took home top prizes, including album of the year and best new artist

AP, LOS ANGELES

Lady Gaga, who won awards for Best Pop Solo Performance with Joanne, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Shallow and Best Song Written for Visual Media Shallow, performs on Sunday during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Photo: AFP

Women and rap triumphed at the Grammys on Sunday as female acts took home top prizes including album of the year and best new artist, and Childish Gambino made history when his hit This Is America became the first rap-based track to win record and song of the year.

Kacey Musgraves’ country-pop release Golden Hour won album of the year, and British singer Dua Lipa won best new artist, a year after female voices were somewhat muted at last year’s ceremony and the Grammys were criticized for the low number of female nominees.

WOMEN RULE

Six women were nominated for best new artist, and five of the eight album-of-the-year nominees were women, including Brandi Carlile, who described herself as “a kid from the ‘90s from Lilith Fair.”

“Those women were just dominating those platforms. They were dominating those arena and amphitheater stages. They were getting record deals. They were becoming record executives themselves,” Carlile said. But watching those gains “backslide for the last 20 years has been heartbreaking.”

“Tonight gives me hope as a mother of two young daughters,” said Carlile, who won three honors in the Americana category and was the most nominated women with six.

Musgraves and Gambino were the night’s top winners, taking home four awards each. This Is America also won best music video and best rap/sung performance.

Ludwig Goransson, who co-wrote and produced Gambino’s song, said he was surprised a rap song had never won in the past.

“If you listen to the radio or if just you watch our culture or look at the most downloaded and streamed artists and bought albums, you see what’s at the top and what people listen to and you see what people get inspired by. It’s about time something like this happened,” he said backstage.

RAPPERS RECOGNIZED

Gambino’s historic win comes years after rappers have struggled to win in the top categories, including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Drake, who has lost in the big four categories over the years, told the room of musicians that winning awards isn’t necessary if you have real fans attending your concerts and singing your songs.

“Look, if there are people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I promise you. You already won,” said Drake, who won best rap song for God’s Plan.

He tried to continue speaking but was cut off as the ceremony suddenly went to a commercial.

The last time a rapper won album of the year was in 2004 with Outkast. Only a handful of rappers have won best new artist. Cardi B also made history as the first solo female to win best rap album (Lauryn Hill won as a member of the Fugees at the 1997 Grammys).

She was shaking onstage as she tried to give a thank-you speech with her rapper-husband Offset holding her arm.

“The nerves are so bad. Maybe I need to start smoking weed,” she said as the audience laughed. “I just want to say thank you everybody that was involved ... I want to thank my daughter.”

At the 2018 Grammys, male acts dominated in nominations, and the only woman competing for the top award, Lorde, did not get a chance to perform onstage.

Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow, who last year said women need to “step up” and later acknowledged that it was a “poor choice of words,” seemed to address his comments during Sunday’s show.

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