I actually had a fun time tweeting the 56th Annual Grammy Awards because at times, Twitter makes everything funny funnier and everything angering more manageable. Above are some of my thoughts during the show; tweets are chronological.
First of all, yes, FUCK MACKLEMORE. No country for Macklestans. Mediocremore did not deserve a thing over Kendrick Lamar. And from Kendrick Lamar’s exquisite performance with Imagine Dragons—the best of the night by so far a measure that there really isn’t a second place—this became even more clear. I know his stans refuse to use Google to find out why I am not here for this praise and worship of Macklemore, so I made it easy for them in my tweets. And I know the willfully ignorant will think critiquing how White supremacy, racism and just utter disregard for the queer people of colour in hip hop (and the LGBTQ community itself) has positioned him at the top means I “hate” him. It ain’t that. Kendrick SLAYED. I should’ve listened to my younger Twitter peeps who told me to get into Kendrick long ago. I am sorry. I am an old lady. You can come back on my lawn. Even so, I KNEW he was more talented than Macklemore like I know what my middle name is. (I don’t care about Macklemore saying Kendrick “should’ve won.” He didn’t.)
I really looked forward to Beyoncé’s and Jay-Z’s performance. Loved their costumes. Jay-Z’s questionable lines in the song “Drunk In Love” I am not a fan of (already discussed before; will not re-discuss here) but they owned the song despite that part not being great. Must take responsibility for whatever is put out there; flawed, wrong, or good. Thinking about something like the best halftime show in the history of the Super Bowl versus last night’s performance, I thought the latter was the best one of the night for a while, but then P!nk, John Legend, Daft Punk/Stevie Wonder/Pharrell/Niles Rogers and of course Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons blew hers out of the water. I know what Bey is capable of, of course. She is great. However, last night wasn’t one of those great moments vocally, though visually amazing. And of course I loved Jay Z’s shoutout to Beyoncé and Blue Ivy.
I’m mad that Black Sabbath didn’t get all of their projected awards. I liked the old White guy moments with Lindsey Buckingham, Black Sabbath, Willie Nelson and Ringo Starr. Yes, I am glad that “Blurred Lines” did not get its total projected awards. I don’t like Robin Thicke and I don’t like that song. (Trigger warning on the previous link.) We had some hilarious conversation about the old days of Metallica vs. Napster. Everyone agreed that Pharrell refuses to age and couldn’t stop laughing about that hat. I mean, that hat bruh? Anyway, Madonna looked ridiculous in that white suit, what some said resembled “Big Daddy” in Django Unchained and I thought of Colonel Sanders’; I found her racist “disnigga” nonsense from last week offensive. (Anyway, bell hooks been called her out.) Also, YAY Daft Punk everything! YAY Lalah Hathaway!
Obviously every award season the same conversations come up. Are awards just “White approval” or do they matter to Black people’s careers? I say they matter (here’s why). It is not as simple as random Black people thirsty for personal White approval as much as awards are often used as career markers. The desire for access to resources cannot be conflated with desire for personal White approval. (Further, um…NAACP and BET awards are always stretching olive branches to White artists just for Black ones to be spit in the face by mainstream awards. So I cannot immediately cheer them for that either. And this is not “equal” “back and forth” exchange; the difference in structural power matters.) Just like non-famous people want awards at their jobs, so do famous ones. These are Black people’s careers and dreams. At the same time, I truly hope how White supremacy impacts award structure (we see this with the Oscars, for example) does not harm these Black geniuses—like Kendrick—in a personal way and that they will continue to do what they are truly passionate about: creating art and setting our hearts on passionate fire. ❤