Women reign at glitzy Grammys gala that also makes rap history

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LOS ANGELES, Feb 11, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – A bold streak of feminism ran through
the Grammys gala on Sunday, as women artists dominated in the competition and
on the concert stage — while rappers Cardi B and Childish Gambino delivered
a history-making night for hip-hop.

Gambino — the musical alter ego of actor Donald Glover — posted four big
wins for his provocative hit “This Is America,” but did not attend the star-
studded ceremony in Los Angeles.

In any event, the night belonged to the ladies.

One year after they were largely snubbed in major categories, and the head
of the Recording Academy sparked outrage for telling them to “step up,” they
made their presence felt — and heard.

Country star Kacey Musgraves, one of the genre’s most critically praised
artists who infuses her classic twang with psychedelia, nabbed four prizes
including an upset win for top Album of the Year honors for “Golden Hour.”

“I think that women have a really necessary perspective to art, to music
and it’s really nice to see that getting a chance to be included,” Musgraves
told journalists after the show.

“It takes women having the balls to put out art that might not always be
liked by everyone, but it also takes people on the other side of that to
reach out and give those things a chance to be heard.”

English synth-pop star Dua Lipa bested a crowded field of female talent to
take home the Grammy for Best New Artist.

“I guess this year we really stepped up,” she said.

And rap’s woman of the moment Cardi B certainly put her art out there —
she made history as the first solo woman to win a Grammy for Best Rap Album
for her debut “Invasion of Privacy.”

The trembling star, fresh off a rousing performance of her hit “Money,”
delivered an emotional speech alongside her husband Offset of the rap trio
Migos about making the album in the early days of her pregnancy.

Gambino’s win marked the first time a rap track won either Song of the
Year, which honors best songwriting, or the Record of the Year award for best
overall song.

Musgraves’ third studio album bested a crowded field of heavyweights for
top honors including rappers Kendrick Lamar and Drake — both of whom ended
the night with just one win each.

Gambino and Lamar skipped the ceremony, but Drake showed up — and the
Toronto rapper vented his frustration over a common complaint in recent
years, that black hip-hop artists are not always given their due.

“We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” Drake said
as he accepted his lone award for Best Rap Song for his inescapable “God’s
Plan.”

“This is a business where sometimes it is up to a bunch of people that
might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say.” – Women
on top –

Host Alicia Keys got the show at the Staples Center off to an emphatic
start when she introduced a few of her friends — including former first lady
Michelle Obama.

Obama delighted the audience when she came on stage alongside Keys, Lady
Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith to deliver a strong
message about diversity and female empowerment.

Brandi Carlile — this year’s most nominated woman — won her first three
Grammys ever, in the Americana and American Roots categories.

“Tonight gives me hope as a mother of two young daughters,” she told
journalists backstage.

Pop diva Gaga — sporting an off-the-shoulder silver number with a bold
ruffle and thigh-high slit — meanwhile won an award for Best Pop Duo/Group
Performance for her heart-pounding hit “Shallow” from the blockbuster film “A
Star Is Born.”

The song also won in the visual media group, and Gaga scored a third trophy
for best pop solo performance for “Joanne.”

“I’m so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues,”
said a tearful Gaga, who thanked her co-star and duet partner Bradley Cooper.

“A lot of artists deal with that. And we got to take care of each other.”

– Vagina monologues –

The night struck a positive note that some change may be afoot at the
Recording Academy, which has faced intense backlash over its apparent
struggle to embrace diversity.

Rising pop star Camila Cabello opened the show with Ricky Martin, J Balvin
and rapper Young Thug for an electric bilingual performance.

Pop futurist Janelle Monae wowed the crowd with an edgy performance backed
by an entourage of female dancers, dropping the line of the night: “Let the
vagina have a monologue.”

And Lady Gaga delivered a stunning rendition of her hit “Shallow” — in a
decidedly Gaga-esque bejeweled catsuit and sky-high disco boots.

Songstress Keys, a 15-time Grammy winner, was the first woman to host
music’s biggest night in 14 years.

She performed a rollicking medley of classics on two pianos, while country
legend Dolly Parton took the stage with Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and others
after being honored for her musical and philanthropic contributions.

Disco legend Diana Ross performed a birthday tribute to herself before
Jennifer Lopez wowed with an exuberant ode to Motown that included
inflections of salsa.

Keys ended the feel-good show with a line to match: “Let’s keep listening
and loving each other.”

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