By Arturo R. García
The more I think about this year’s Grammy Awards, the harder it becomes to figure them out.
For starters, I can’t imagine what Jennifer Hudson was feeling while singing her take on Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” especially considering she reportedly couldn’t get through the song in rehearsals. But the show’s organizers put Hudson in an awkward position so late in the nearly 150-minute show. The extended build-up seemed too “Hollywood,” but closing the show with a jam session involving Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters only made the awards look dated.
Of course, there’s a difference between being dated and being tone-deaf, and the extended spotlight on Chris Brown – two performances – was a bad exclamation point to executive producer Ken Ehrlich’s statement that the Grammys were “the victim of what happened” regarding his absence from the show for three years. After the show, Grammys president Neil Portnow told HitFlix Brown’s second appearance, during a dance segment, “was not really part of a Chris Brown performance, per se.”
Speaking of bizarre, Sunday also saw an extreme difference in opinion regarding Brown’s return: Sasha Pesulka at HelloGiggles gained traction online with her take on the situation: (Trigger Warning)
We were so mad when the Komen Foundation pulled its funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. “This is not fair,” we shouted. “This is not fair to women, and this is not fair to the women who don’t have a voice, and we will not allow it.” We shouted it so loudly that Komen reversed its decision in three days. We forced the resignation of one of their top executives.
Planned Parenthood, no doubt, has a well-funded and fine-tuned PR machine, adept at galvanizing a population against a perceived injustice. They outmaneuvered Komen easily.
Does domestic violence have a less sophisticated PR machine than Chris Brown does?
Apparently so, because Brown got a standing ovation after his first performance, and referred to himself as a “role model” on Twitter before deleting it. Meanwhile, after the show, BuzzFeed found at least (Trigger Warning) 25 different people who expressed their support for him in the most insensitive of ways.
The awards also struck a bad chord outside the arena – literally. Billboard Magazine reported that about 70 Latino artists and supporters protested the elimination of 31 categories, including Latino Jazz and gospel – the genre Houston got her start in before embarking on her professional career. The advocacy group Presente is also circulating an online petition calling for categories representing Latino, Native American, Cajun and Hawaiian music to be restored.
And there was quite a bit more to unpack this year, including:
- So, if you get mentioned during the show, you don’t get a spot in the In Memoriam tribute. So the only mentions of Etta James and Don Cornelius were brief.
- Speaking of Mr. Cornelius, the Foo Fighters and Deadmau5 did a tribute number? Huh?
- First it was Lady Antebellum. Now we have The Civil Wars. What will next year’s problematic country band be called? The Wars of Northern Aggression? CPAC?
- Nicki Minaj’s performance.
What did you think of the show, Racializens?