Bruno Mars has a magical night at Grammys
Jay-Z, the leading nominee with eight, walked away empty handed Sunday - a year after his wife lost album of the year to Adele, causing fans and peers to criticize the Recording Academy for not properly rewarding Beyonce’s bold “Lemonade” project.
And though Kendrick Lamar won five awards, he lost in the top categories, marking another year where rappers were restricted to wins in the rap categories, instead of earning coveted prizes like album of the year.
Mars picked up album of the year for “24K Magic,” record of the year for the title track, and song of the year - shared with seven co-writers - for the No. 1 hit, “That’s What I Like.”
Jay-Z and Lamar could have become the first rapper to win song or record of the year, and the third rap-based act to win album of the year.
But Mars’ win was still marked some growth for the Academy, becoming one of the few R&B albums to win the top prize. He dedicated his win to songwriters who have made history in R&B music, including Babyface, Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Lamar’s wins at Madison Square Garden in New York City included best rap album, best rap song, best rap performance, best rap/sung performance and best music video. He has a career total of 12 Grammys.
Lamar also won with his performance: He kicked off the Grammys with a powerful and poignant performance featuring video screens displaying a waving American flag behind him, as background dancers dressed as army soldiers marched and moved behind. At one point, Lamar’s background dancers, dressed in red, were shot down as he rapped lyrics, later coming back to life as fire burst to end the six-minute performance.
But the night’s top performer was Kesha, who was passionate and striking onstage with the help of powerful women behind her, including the Resistance Revival Chorus. She was joined by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Bebe Rexha for her Grammy-nominated song, “Praying.”
Kesha, who earned her first pair of Grammy nominations this year, has been in a legal war with former producer and mentor Dr. Luke. Janelle Monae introduced the performance with strong words.
“We come in peace but we mean business. To those who would dare try to silence us, we offer two words: Time’s Up,” Monae said. “It’s not just going on in Hollywood. It’s not just going on in Washington. It’s here in our industry, too.”