The event known as “the biggest night in music” has come and gone! There were some bumps in the road due to the global pandemic and a globally reported snubbing mishap, but the Recording Academy managed to pull it off.
Like similar awards shows during this unprecedented time, there was limited attendance—strictly for those who absolutely had to be there—rather than the huge scale we were used to seeing pre-pandemic. In fact, host Trevor Noah opened the event from outside of the Staples Center in a fancy tent—in his words, they were literally “socially distancing” from the stadium.
In case you need a refresher of who was up for a 2021 Grammy, here’s a recap of the nominees:
Now, as it typically goes, there’s a Grammys pre-show (called the Grammys Premiere Show) and a telecast of the main ceremony. The Grammys Premiere definitely had some standout Black-ass moments.
Kanye West actually did win his first gospel category (Contemporary Christian Music Album) Grammy for Jesus Is King, making this his 22nd Grammy statuette.
Blue Ivy is a Grammy winner, y’all. We knew the precocious and prosperous young talent would be well on her way and she did it, winning Best Music Video for the endearing earworm, “Brown Skin Girl,” along with mom Beyoncé and Wizkid.
At the tender age of 9, Blue is now the second-youngest-ever artist to win a Grammy. The youngest-ever artist to win a Grammy is Leah Peasall of the Peasall Sisters, who was 8 years old when she was among the credited artists who won Album of the Year in 2002 for the O Brother, Where Art Thou? film soundtrack.
Speaking of notable first Grammys, Megan Thee Stallion (who had the most adorably shocked reaction both onscreen and on social media) won Best Rap Performance (along with Beyoncé) for “Savage Remix.” This win makes Meg and Bey the first female artists to win the Best Rap Performance in the entire history of the Grammys. Meg also won Best New Artist, making her the first female hip-hop artist to win the award since Lauryn Hill did back in 1999.
Meg and Bey also won Best Rap Song with “Savage Remix,” and after they accepted the award onstage, Trevor let us know (with super spastic surprise energy) that the win tied Beyoncé in the record (with Alison Krauss) for most Grammy awards ever for a female artist with 27 wins.
Later that night, Bey won Best R&B Performance, giving her the crown for most-ever Grammy award wins for a female artist: 28, bih! She is also the record-holder for most Grammy wins for a singer, male or female. Conductor Georg Solti currently holds the record as the top all-time Grammy winner period, with 31.
Additionally, Nas won his first-ever Grammy on Sunday night, if you can believe it. The 47-year-old rapper won the Rap Album award for King’s Disease.
Ledisi also won her first-ever Grammy, scoring the Traditional R&B Performance statuette for “Anything for You.”
H.E.R. (along with fellow songwriters Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas) won one of the biggest awards of the night, Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe.”
I honestly can’t talk about who performed without first noting who didn’t—and that notable “who” was the most nominated artist of the night, Beyoncé. The Black Is King artist declined an invitation from the Recording Academy to perform at the live broadcasted ceremony.
“It’s unfortunate, because she’s such a big part of the Recording Academy,” interim Recording Academy CEO and president Harvey Mason Jr. told the LA Times in a recent interview. “We absolutely wish we had her onstage.” Toward the end of the ceremony, Mason also made a video statement hoping artists work with and “not against” The Recording Academy to help create a better organization going forward.
Bey didn’t pay The Recording Academy complete dust, though, as she and Jay-Z did show up to the ceremony as guests halfway through.
The performances did take place indoors—in a special area designated just for live entertainment. Though it was definitely a much less crowded audience than we’re used to, it was cute to see the other performing artists sitting and jamming to each other’s songs.
DaBaby gave us classical realness in all-white (and even acted as conductor at some points) with his performance of “Rockstar,” featuring Roddy Ricch. Were those Supreme Court justices in the background? Anyway, DaBaby had quite a night because after performing his own song, he came right back out to perform with Dua Lipa for her song, “Levitating.”
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak made their live awards ceremony performance debut as Silk Sonic. They were fully in character because the entire, already-retro set design was draped in a sepia filter. The group also participated in the In Memoriam segment, honoring the late, great Little Richard.
Lionel Richie also performed an apt tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, as Richie wrote the song “Lady” for the acclaimed country artist.
Mickey Guyton was the first Black solo female artist nominated in a country category in the Best Country Performance category for “Black Like Me.” Guyton is having a historic year in the music genre as she’s also the first Black co-host of the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards.
After performing their respective hit singles “Savage Remix” and “Up,” Meg and Cardi had their first-ever TV performance of “WAP.” It was as hot as you can imagine.
Speaking of hot, Meg told E! News earlier on the red carpet that we better get prepared for “Hot Girl Summer Part 2.”
Other Black folks who performed on Sunday night include Black Pumas, Brittany Howard (who performed during the In Memoriam segment), Doja Cat and Lil Baby.
I have to give some space to MC Lyte here because she really does stay booked and busy with awards ceremony voice work, and this one is no exception. At this point, if you don’t hear MC Lyte announcing the upcoming acts leading up to a commercial break, does your award ceremony even exist?!
Overall, this year’s Grammys was definitely about girl power (and a special shout-out to the Black Girl Magic we witnessed today!), which is pretty fitting to occur during Women’s History Month. (Or, as we call it here at The Root, Black HerStory Month.)
To view the complete list of winners at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, head to grammy.com.