The Grammys: Were We (Africans Americans) Really There or Covered Fairly?
by Brandon I. Brooks
Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel
As the 2014, 56th Annual Grammy Awards came to a close in downtown Los Angeles last Sunday the night, it left me with mixed reactions – some great moments, some snubs of legends and the public’s gasping reaction to the multiple same sex marriage ceremony that seemed to overshadow the ultimate purpose of the awards.
Twitter feeds and social sites of polarizing subjects pushed the Grammys to limits like never before.
Trending on the social landscape was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for their performance of “Same Love”.
Then the jaw dropping wedding ceremony of same sex couples by Queen Latifah sent shock waves to millions of viewers and the live audience at Staples Center when she joined Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on stage during the Grammys final performance.
Viewers across the country and around the world had no idea if Latifah was going to rap or sing. She shocked us all by doing neither and instead married 33 couples as they stood in the aisles of Staples Center and held hands.
Madonna joined in on the performance serenading the audience and newlyweds.
It’s important to note the newlyweds were not just same-sex couples; they were mixed with heterosexual and different nationalities. But clearly the undertone of the performance was same sex marriage and gay rights as the song “Same Love,” discusses bullying and gay hatred.
After the Grammys, Latifah shared with writers that she was deputized to be a commissioner of civil marriages prior to the award show.
The Isley Brothers won a Lifetime Achievement Award but unfortunately the award was not televised. The award was given to the brothers a day before the live telecast. What was that about? It doesn’t seem fair for our legends to be treated this way. That was the biggest shocker and upsetting moment of the 2014 Grammy experience. To see Ernie Isley stroll the red carpet with his award and for no one to really know who he was or to not pay proper homage to him was an unsettling moment for me. If any award should have been televised, it should have been the Lifetime Achievement Award Tribute to the Isley Brothers.
The biggest elephant in the room at the Grammys was the lack of Black participation in front and behind the scenes. So to see that the Isley Brothers didn’t get their moment on national television tears me up inside. The Grammys deprived millions of viewers the opportunity to showcase this family that is still making music and touring today. This could have introduced the Isley Brothers to a new generation of fans and helped their legacy live that much longer. They did it for Paul McCartney; why not the Isleys?
I caught up with two of the brothers Ernie and Ronald Isley and got a chance to ask them how they felt about receiving the award.
“You have to wait for it, so its kind of like dessert, but its all chocolate so its really sweetening and much appreciated,” said Ernie Isley.
Ronald Isley said he felt “fantastic” about the award and sang the hook to his hit song “Shout” on the red carpet, which launched the success for the Isley Brothers back in 1959. “You know you make me wanna shout.”
Kendrick Lamar was the big talk on the red carpet as many anticipated the young star from Compton would be the big winner being that he was nominated in multiple categories. Shockingly Lamar did not win a single GrammyAs far as rap music goes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis cleaned house winning three Grammys for the album “The Heist.” Macklemore beat Lamar in just about every category, Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. The only rap category that didn’t award Macklemore & Ryan Lewis was “Best rap/sung collaboration,” which went to Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake for the song “Holy Grail.”
Macklemore sent Lamar a message after the show saying, “You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you. I was gonna say that during the speech. Then the music started playing during my speech and I froze. Anyway, you know what it is. Congrats on this year and your music. Appreciate you as an artist and as a friend. Much Love.”
Twitter and social sites have been flooded with postings wondering if Kendrick Lamar was blatantly overlooked by the academy. To add fuel to fire, Lamar gave arguably the best performance of the night when he collaborated with Imagine Dragons to blend their smash hit “Radioactive,” with Lamar’s popular song “m.A.A.d. city. ” The combination proved to be the nights best overall performance blending genre’s and cultures. Taylor Swift was seen in the front row bouncing to the beat as if she was Lamar’s biggest fan.
Beyonce and Jay Z opened the show performing their latest hit collaboration “Drunk In Love.” Many people felt they performed too early in the show because they are a hard act to follow.
Jay Z thanked God “a little bit” for the Grammy he won but mostly for giving him Beyonce who he thanked for being there.
“I want to thank God, I mean, a little bit for this award, but also all the universe for conspiring and for putting that beautiful light of a young lady in my life,” the rapper declared.
He also shouted out his daughter Blue Ivy saying that he would bring home a new “Sippy Cup,” referring to the Grammy award.
Stevie Wonder joined Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams on stage to perform “Get Lucky” which won the Grammy for Record of the year. Daft Punk won Album of the year and Best pop duo/group performance. Pharrell Williams won Producer of the year, nonclassical.
Williams was the fashion talk of the night sporting a mountain hat that looked three sizes too big for his head and body. But I guess that’s the style according to Pharrell.
John Legend performed his new smash record “All of Me,” and sounded fantastic live in front of the live audience. Not to mention his wife Christine Teigen looked gorgeous.
Gary Clark Jr. won the Grammy for Best traditional R&B performance. He showcased his guitar ability as he joined Keith Urban on stage to perform “Cop Car.”
Rihanna won Best urban contemporary album for “Unapologetic” and was unapologetic about not showing up.
Alicia Keys won Best R&B album for “Girl on Fire.”
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