Apart from the ones who already did (Taylor Swift, I’m looking at you), a lot of people are so close to cancelling the Grammys once and for all. Last year’s awards show received great backlash for its lack of female representation, and particularly for Grammy president Neil Portnow’s suggestion that women need to “step up” in the industry.
The Grammys have been somewhat problematic ever since, not just in regards to sexism. But clearly, they’re trying to bring back the integrity of the show, as it seems they’ve realized that they were the ones that needed to step up. Unlike the Oscars, we can at least see their efforts this year to duly recognize women in the industry. While there were still cringe-y instances in this year’s ceremony, there were also a lot of inspiring moments that beg for the institution’s redemption. Here are just some of the 61st Grammys’ most inspiring and empowering female-centric moments.
Camila Cabello’s opening performance
Off to a great start highlighting diversity in the industry, the awards show kicked in with a bright celebration of generations of Latin music, helmed by singer Camila Cabello. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight prior the show, Camila said she would draw on her Cuban-American heritage for the performance. “It’s based on my family. It’s based on, specifically, on my grandma’s upbringing,” she said. “It’s a big Latin block party.” We’re sure her family is proud, as she is the first Latina ever to open for the show.
Her performance of “Havana” was later on joined by Ricky Martin who sang his own hit, “Pegate,” with renowned jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. J Balvin completed the “Latin block party” with his song “Mi Gente.” The seemingly innocent celebration quickly turned political when Balvin at one point held a newspaper with the headline “BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS.” What a statement!
Bebe Rexha’s message to body-shamers
Weeks before the actual Grammys, Bebe Rexha made headlines for struggling to find someone to dress her for the ceremony because of her size. In an Instagram video, she called out those designers for being discriminatory to anyone above a size eight. She proved just how beautiful her “plus-size” body is yesterday in a scarlet Monsoori gown which she accessorized with a sparkly necklace, bright earrings, and a perfectly coiffed half-up hairstyle.
At the red carpet, she told Ryan Seacrest that she’d received an overwhelming amount of support after speaking out. “It’s been amazing. I didn’t expect it. I just did the video because I was really heartbroken and it bummed me,” she said. “They said I was too big or fat, and I love my body, and I just want other girls to love their bodies.” Her message for designers who missed the opportunity to style her? “Yo, you wish you could’ve dressed my fat ass!”
MIC. DROP. @BebeRexha had a message to send to the designers that refused to dress her for the #Grammys 🎙💥 pic.twitter.com/K6XQjaS113
— Access (@accessonline) February 11, 2019
Lady Gaga’s speech
Lady Gaga had a lot of moments in this year’s Grammys, but our favorite would have to be her inspiring speech. While accepting her third Grammy of the night for “Shallow,” which won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, the singer shared a powerful message about mental health issues.
“If I don’t get another chance to say this, I just want to say I’m so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues. They’re so important,” she said. “A lot of artists deal with that. And we gotta take care of each other. So if you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away. And if you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up in your head with you.” Watch the clip below and prepare some tissues.
Cardi B’s historic win
The Grammys was Cardi’s night too. Her win for best rap album as a solo artist made her the first ever female rapper to achieve that feat. While accepting the award, she gave another moving speech, which recounted her difficulty of finishing the album while pregnant.
Unsurprisingly, some tried to discredit her achievement, but Cardi shut them down quickly. “I f*cking worked my ass off and locked myself in the studio for three months. Didn’t go to sleep in my own bed sometime for four days straight pregnant!” she said in a clip posted on her IG account. “I listen to my album and I cry because I know the hell I went thru doing the album is always a bittersweet memory,” she shared. Thankfully, other artists like Chance the Rapper and J. Cole backed her up and said that the award was well-deserved.
I listen to my album and I cry because I know the hell I went thruu doing the album is always a bittersweet memory. THANK YOU EVERYONE THAT SUPPORTED ME AND LISTEN .Im thankful and grateful and again thank you to all the artist that gave me a feature .❤️❤️❤️❤️😂😂❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/XhYxwtj6Gl
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) February 11, 2019
Michelle Obama’s surprise appearance
This one’s definitely one for the books. Suddenly appearing onstage arm in arm with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Jennifer Lopez, the former US First Lady Michelle effectively brought the house down as the audience erupted into a standing ovation and deafening applause. Michelle used her time on stage to stress the significance of music in our lives.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘who run the world’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” She said. “And I know that’s true for everybody here, whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity, our sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite one another in. Music shows us that all of it matters, every story, every voice, every note, in every song. Is that right ladies?” Petition to have Michelle at every awards show, please!
Photo courtesy of Grammy’s Instagram account
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