Grammy’s 2020: A Quick Recap


WINNING BIG: Billie Eilish’s album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? took home the award for Best Album.

Jake Miller, Copy Editor

This year’s Grammy Awards generated the usual amount of controversy, all while taking place in the shadow of beloved basketball player Kobe Bryant’s death. “This is for Kobe,” proclaimed singer/rapper Lizzo, as she opened up the awards with a powerful medley of her songs “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts.” Singer Alicia Keys, who hosted the event, paid tribute to the late athlete with an emotional rendition of Boyz II Men’s “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” as Bryant’s two former jerseys were illuminated at the top of Staples Center. Those in mourning still managed to find enjoyment in the night, particularly singer Billie Eilish, who swept the awards’ four major categories: best new artist, album of the year, song of the year, and record of the year. She also became the first woman to win all four categories. Eilish expressed her sheer joy and disbelief, saying, “I never thought this would happen in my whole life.”

Other artists were less ecstatic about the night’s winners. Rapper/producer Tyler, the Creator, who took home the award for best rap album, criticized the Recording Academy’s handling of artists of color, calling his award a “backhanded compliment.” “It sucks that we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that’s genre-bending… they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word – it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” said the musician. His criticism was certainly not the first towards the Grammy’s treatment of minority artists, as the institution is consistently attacked for its snubbing of black musicians. In a night that was initially praised for its diversity, the four major categories all went to a white artist, as black and queer artists like Lizzo and Lil Nas X took home significantly less awards in more minor categories. Many criticize the Grammy’s for trying to appeal to diverse audiences by giving artists of color acknowledgement without reward, claiming they tokenize diversity in a disingenuous attempt to stay culturally relevant. Host Alicia Keys said it best at the ceremony’s closing: “We got a lot to change. We got a lot to do.”