Hip-hop loses to R&B; Trump gets skewered
NEW YORK: Bruno Mars, who has revived retro funk and R&B for a new generation, on Sunday swept the Grammy Awards in a surprise snub for the hip-hop world, which had hoped for a major breakthrough on the music industry’s biggest night.
The industry seized on its annual gala to rally on behalf of the growing women’s movement against sexual harassment, with pop singer Kesha delivering a fierce performance about her own abuse story.
He won the top prize, Album of the Year, for “24K Magic” as well as Record of the Year, which recognizes top tune, for the title track—a tale of good times with beautiful women set to 1980s-style synths and rhythms.
The Recording Academy, the body of 13,000 music professionals, also gave him Song of the Year, which awards songwriting, for another track on the album—”That’s What I Like,” an old-school ode to making love in high style.
The 32-year-old singer, sporting a bright smile and sunglasses, recalled how he first performed as a child for tourists in his native Hawaii.
“I remember seeing it firsthand—people dancing that had never met each other from two sides of the globe, dancing with each other, toasting with each other, celebrating together,” he said.
“All I wanted to do with this album was that,” he told thousands of industry players at Madison Square Garden in New York, where the Grammys temporarily shifted after 15 years in Los Angeles.
Anti-climax for rap
Mars won all of the awards for which he was in the running on what was expected to be a major night for hip-hop, which for the first time dominated nominations for the major categories.
But the industry either preferred Mars, or the vote for rappers split.
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, who had led with eight nominations, ended the night empty-handed.
Alessia Cara, who rose from making YouTube videos in her bedroom to becoming a socially conscious pop singer, won the closely watched award of Best New Artist.
Amid rising attention to gender discrimination in the entertainment industry following revelations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, top stars— notably Lady Gaga—walked the red carpet wearing white roses in solidarity with abuse victims and in an appeal for equality.
Finally, The Grammys didn’t hold back from more light-hearted political commentary.
Noting President Donald Trump’s reported disdain for reading—and the Grammy award for spoken word—host James Corden introduced a video of famous names reciting from “Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House,” the sensational account of the tycoon-turned-president’s first year in office.
Musicians known for their criticism of Trump started reading from the book including John Legend, Cher and—smoking from his trademark joint—Snoop Dogg.
The video ends with Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the bitter 2016 election.
“The Grammy’s in the bag,” quips Clinton, whose confidence during her race against Trump proved ill advised.