by Grace Whitman ’22 A&E Staff
When Harry Styles opened the 63rd Grammy Awards performing a slow rendition of “Watermelon Sugar” in a tight leather suit, we all knew that the night was going to be one to remember.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic took away many of the things that we love this year, music was there to unite the world. After a long year without live musical performances by our favorite artists, this year’s Grammy Awards was full of versatile performances by artists including Dua Lipa, HAIM, and Post Malone. Additionally, Silk Sonic, composed of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, made their debut television performance with their song “Leave the Door Open.”
One of the most unforgettable moments of the night was DaBaby’s remixed version of his hit “Rockstar.” A major switch from their original version, DaBaby and Roddy Ricch offered a dramatic rendition of their viral hit, complete with violins and backup singers in choir robes. Other memorable performances included Dua Lipa’s medley of “Levitating” and “Don’t Start Now” and BTS’s virtual performance of “Dynamite.”
The Grammys’ telecast has always been known for their performances rather than the award announcements, but this year some history was made. Four women won the most prestigious awards of the night, including Taylor Swift, who became the first female artist to win Album of the Year three times—Swift’s albums Fearless and 1989 won in 2010 and 2016, respectively. Her album folklore was written entirely in quarantine and helped heal fans of the heartbreak we all felt during 2020.
The other three major awards—Best New Artist, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year—went to Megan Thee Stallion, H.E.R., and Billie Eilish, respectively.
Beyoncé also made history by becoming the most decorated woman in Grammy history with 28 awards. She earned four more gramophones, including the Grammy for Best R&B Performance for “Black Parade.” In her acceptance speech, Beyoncé said, “As an artist, I believe it’s my job, and all of our jobs, to reflect time, and it’s been such a difficult time.” As she always does, Queen Bey and several other artists used their platform and the Grammys’ stage to speak out about racial inequality.
In a powerful performance directly referencing police brutality against Black people, Lil Baby performed his song “The Bigger Picture.” His musical performance was backed by scenes depicting the realities of life for so many Black people in this country.
Also highlighting racial inequality, Mickey Guyton performed an absolutely heart-wrenching yet inspirational rendition of her song “Black Like Me.” The chorus features the lyrics: “If you think we live in the land of the free / You should try to be, oh, black like me.” Spreading this important message to viewers all across the country, Guyton asks listeners to see the United States through her eyes.
As one of the first major award shows taking place in person without Zoom cameras projected onto television screens, music’s biggest night of the year brought a memorable show to viewers, which was exactly what we needed. There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, and the 63rd Grammy Awards brought us a little closer to it.