This is America wins big at Grammys, Musgraves takes best album

February 11, 2019 13:13
At the 61st Grammy Awards (from left): Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, former first lady Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez. Photo: Reuters

Country artist Kacey Musgraves won album of the year for Golden Hour, while This is America by Childish Gambino won both record and song of the year at the 61st Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday in a breakthrough for rap at the most prestigious honors in the music business.

British pop singer Dua Lipa was named best new artist and popular rapper Cardi B won her first Grammy, taking best rap album for Invasion of Privacy.

Gambino’s searing This is America, about police brutality and racism, became the first hip-hop track to win record and song of the year Grammys, while Drake made a surprise appearance to accept the Grammy for best rap song for God’s Plan and Lady Gaga won three trophies.

This is America also took Grammys for best music video and best rap performance.

Before Sunday the Grammys had frequently shut out hip-hop artists from its top prizes, despite rap’s dominance as the biggest music genre in the United States.

Only two albums by hip-hop artists have ever won the album of the year Grammy – Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1999, and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2004.

Musgraves also won for best country album, song and country solo performance.

This year’s Grammy nominees were dominated by women and the awards show, hosted by Alicia Keys, reflected that with rousing performances by Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae, Katy Perry and Musgraves.

Michelle Obama

Former US first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the awards night and was met with a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd.

Keys kicked off the show by inviting Obama, 55, along with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez, to share personal anecdotes about how music has changed their lives and empowered them as women.

Obama, wearing a shimmering, silver suit, was briefly interrupted as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause at the beginning of her comments.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the Who Run the World songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said, referring to the Chicago neighborhood where she grew up.

Obama is currently touring to promote her memoir Becoming, which was released in the United States and in 28 languages around the world.

She and her husband, former US President Barack Obama, signed deals for a book apiece with Penguin Random House a month after Obama left office in January 2017. Reuters

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Dua Lipa bags awards for best dance recording for Electricity and for best new artist. Photo: Reuters
Country artist Kacey Musgraves wins the album of the year award for Golden Hour. Photo: Reuters