“She Persisted.” Thoughts on the 2017 Grammy Awards.
What. A. Night.
At first, everything seemed… ok. Adele opened with “Hello” and seemed a bit nervous. The numbers were somewhat less exciting renditions of what I’ve heard on the radio lately. James Corden tried to be a cast member of Hamilton. Awards went to people who deserved to win them and people were pretty civil. Then there was that beautiful stumble for the George Michael tribute where Adele apologized and started over to make things right. People were offended or they were moved.
Coming from a performer’s perspective, what Adele did was a personal nightmare. No one wants to start over from the top, especially when it is for something as important as an artistic tribute. It is so incredibly difficult to successfully finish a performance after having started over, and her vulnerability and embarrassment showed. What she did was incredibly brave and real. People mess up. Perfection is a show, and not only did she acknowledge that she is only human, but that the artist she was celebrating deserved better. People would have remembered her performance as having a mistake and she would have been called careless or forgetful and she couldn’t let that happen. She made it right in her own beautifully authentic way. For that, I applaud her.
Then Beyoncé came in with a visual performance that left me stunned. From a technical standpoint, the work she does is so breathtaking. She defies all that I know to be possible both in film AND on stage. I immediately went to research the importance behind the symbolism she was showing in her performance (as well as in her recent pregnancy photoshoot) and was floored. To quote Adele: “so well thought out”. That doesn’t even cover a fraction of the work put into the imagery she portrayed tonight. She was like a goddess I didn’t know existed, celebrating all things feminine and beautiful that I had forgotten I possessed. Even still, this performance reached to a place that wasn’t for me, it went further to empower black women and give them a voice. A much needed voice. She inspired me to learn more about her inspiration, and watch in simple, respectful admiration of her work.
The night continued. Chance the Rapper and 21 Pilots challenged me to reach for that Grammy award despite coming from a small town in Washington State with no label and no big money to get me there. Lady Gaga defied the image of the “pop star” and showed another new side to herself, all while sharing her microphone when her fellow artist couldn’t be heard. Laverne Cox called attention to #StandWithGavin, a game-changing case headed to the Supreme Court that could change the lives of transgender individuals across the country.
More info here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/supreme-court-case-could-affect-trans-lives-generations.
Then more slip ups occur. The Grammy’s cut off a speech of Greg Kurstin: songwriter and producer. What kind of message does that send? Microphones didn’t work, more voices weren’t heard. Then the rollercoaster of emotion lurched upward for the hip-hop performance giving refugees a voice and making a statement.
A lot more happened. I kept riding the roller coaster. The tributes were stunning and heartwarming and so beautiful and the performers seemed to feel more comfortable as the night progressed. See my twitter for all the detailed reactions. I think I have a serious crush on Bruno Mars.
Alright and then that finale. Can I just simply say, these two women: Beyoncé and Adele are two incredible female role models in the music industry? My music doesn’t resemble their’s whatsoever, yet I find them two of the most inspiring individuals time and time again. I was FLOORED to see Adele win Album of the Year; I was convinced Beyoncé would win. I think most of the world expected to see that.
A good friend of mine defended Adele’s album stating that the Grammy’s were a ceremony celebrating music and not visuals or production. This may be true, but to see Adele’s reaction to her win I think says everything. In a world full of hate and anger and greed, to see two women so humbly appreciate each other’s work and openly share their love for each other’s artistic vision was refreshing (to say the least). This gives me so much hope.
I dream of a world where women hold each other up, hold each other accountable, and hold each other’s hands in the face of danger.
I want to work to give those who are lost a pathway out of the darkness. I want to spread the love and respect of music and emotion and feeling and artistic practice across the world. I want to be historically and socially and politically and actively and constantly accurate and respectful.
Being an artist in this world is being a warrior cut from a different cloth. You can do this. I can do this. Let’s create things and give birth to a new world where all things are possible to everyone in all corners of the world.
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