Beyoncé makes history and Lizzo captivates audience at 65th Annual Grammy Awards


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Jaeden Pinder and Sarah Bergin

Once again, the Grammys have come and gone with a handful of victorious scenes and head-scratching moments, only to be forgotten until next February when discourse surrounding ceremony’s legitimacy will naturally arise. Trevor Noah returned yet again to host the 65th Grammy Awards at the Arena in Los Angeles which brought together some of the industry’s most influential artists in an inclusive and monumental ceremony.

In a standout performance with choir accompaniment, Lizzo sang “About Damn Time” and “Special.” The singer was nominated for five Grammys and, later in the ceremony, took home the reputable “Record of the Year” for “About Damn Time.” Once onstage, she dedicated her award to Prince: “When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music.” 

She continued, “I’d like to believe that not only can people do good, but we just are good.” Lizzo ended her speech in a humorous testimony to Beyoncé, naming her “the artist of our lives.”

The highly anticipated award of “Album of the Year” went to Harry Styles for his third album, “Harry’s House.” During his acceptance speech, he shared, “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” a statement that followed his Best Pop Vocal Album win and his performance of lead single “As It Was.”

Legendary blues singer Bonnie Raitt won “Song of the Year” for “Just Like That,” an inspiring story of an organ recipient coming in contact with their donor’s mother. Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the passing of musician John Prine, she felt moved to make this the titular song of her 18th album.

Samara Joy, a Bronx native who specializes in jazz, joined the guard of coveted artists as she took home the Grammy for Best New Artist. She began her career in 2019, quickly gaining attention from jazz enthusiasts, Academy members and the general public.

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album was undoubtedly given to Beyoncé for “RENAISSANCE,” which cemented her as the most awarded artist in Grammy’s history, with 32 awards to date. “I’d like to thank my uncle Johnny who’s not here, but he’s here in spirit,” she said during her speech. 

She further extended her gratitude to the queer community “for inventing the [house] genre.” Beyoncé also won for Best R&B Song (“CUFF IT”), Best Traditional R&B Performance (“PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA”) and Best Dance/Electronic Recording (“BREAK MY SOUL”).

Bad Bunny opened the event performing a mashup of “Después de la Playa” and “El Apagón,” the former seeing a two-fold increase in Spotify streams after the event. Later, SZA presented the Grammy for Best Música Urbana Album to Bad Bunny for “Un Verano Sin Ti,” making this the third time he has received the award.

Viola Davis reached EGOT status following her win for Best Audiobook, Narration and Storytelling Recording. This was awarded for Davis’ audiobook recording of her memoir “Finding Me.” She joined household names Jennifer Hudson and Whoopi Goldberg in holding this coveted honor.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the viral “Unholy,” making Petras the first openly transgender woman to win a Grammy. In an emotional speech, Kim Petras said, “I just want to thank all of the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open before me so I could be here tonight…Thank you so much for you inspiration, SOPHIE. I adore you, and your inspiration will forever be in my music.” SOPHIE pioneered the hyperpop genre and collaborated with Charli XCX, Madonna and other pop artists before tragically passing away in February 2021 at 34.

Kendrick Lamar returned to the Grammys winning three of his eight nominations, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, the latter two for “The Heart Part 5.”

During the “In Memoriam,” multiple artists tributed both icons and friends. Kacey Musgraves, gripping Loretta Lynn’s signature guitar, performed “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in a heart wrenching and inspiring manner. Quavo was joined by Maverick City Music in a moving performance of his original song “Without You” and the familiar “See You Again” in Takeoff’s honor. Closing out the segment, “Song of the Year” winner Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow and former band member Mick Fleetwood sang a longing rendition of “Songbird” in memory of Christine McVie. Other artists that were remembered included Olivia Newton John, Television’s Tom Verlaine, guitarist Jeff Beck, tWitch, Lisa Marie Presley and David Crosby.

The most exciting performance of the evening was the 50 Years of Hip-Hop tribute, which traced the genre from 1973 to the present, from coast to coast and from old school to trap. Led out by LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash, Busta Rhymes, Run DMC, De La Soul and Queen Latifah, among many others, represented NYC and East-Coast hip-hop. Questlove, who produced the segment, revealed that the unabridged version was 20 minutes long and included even more artists than on the televised roster. Despite the tensions between the Grammy’s and their recognition of hip-hop and Black artists, the production was one of the few victories in the award show’s history, even in its tight runtime. 

For a full list of winners, visit the official Grammy’s website.