By Justin Smith
Rockers. Hip-hoppers. Show-stoppers and chart-toppers. These were the stars who filed into the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards the night of Feb. 15.
Showing the world, once again, that her switch from country to pop was no mistake, Taylor Swift scored big at the Grammy’s. Not only did she open the show, she brought home the Grammy for Album of the Year for “1989.” Swift beat out top artists including Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton and The Weeknd. Swift made history being the only female artist to win the Grammy for Album of the Year twice. She was also honored with two other awards that night.
After winning her second Album of the Year Grammy, Swift took the stage and delivered an inspirational message to young women about the hard road to success.
“I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame…don’t let those people sidetrack you,” Swift said.
Speculation erupted about Swift’s speech being a jab at rapper Kayne West and their on-again, off-again feud. West proclaims in his new single “Famous,” he is the one who made Swift famous.
Like Swift, Alabama Shakes was one of the night’s top winners going home with three Grammy’s. However, it was Kendrick Lamar who ruled the night with a total of five wins.
Lamar won Best Rap Album for “To Pimp a Butterfly,” as well as Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Alright.” He also took home the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and shared Best Music Video with Taylor Swift for “Bad Blood.” Lamar also delivered a powerful performance that left the audience and viewers in awe.
Lamar walked out on stage in a lethargic demeanor, with handcuffs and chains around his hands. His background dancers helped portray vivid imagery of a sensitive topic in American culture. Lamar went on to deliver a medley of his songs “The Blacker the Berry” and Grammy-winning “Alright.” The fiery performance fused genres like jazz and reggae to showcase a new generation of hip-hop and rap. The performance ended with a map of Africa with his home town of Compton imprinted on it.
VWC senior and fan of Lamar, Jasmine Burrell, said she was eager to chime in on his captivating performance.
“When I first saw it and he came out in shackles, it was such powerful imagery, and I was so excited,” Burrell said. “I liked the visuals like the prison uniforms, and then when they glowed in the dark to the African paint…there was such big symbolism there,” Burrell said. She said she was also very happy Lamar’s album was recognized at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Fans who had been following the Grammy’s months before they actually aired may have noticed that a star performer was missing.
Scheduled to be the show’s headliner, pop star Rihanna did not make an appearance. Rihanna was teased through commercials of her performance for weeks before the show aired. She was scheduled to perform “Kiss It Better” off her recently released album “Anti,” according to Billboard. Rihanna was put on vocal rest per her doctor due to bronchitis, her representative told Entertainment Weekly.
Though Rihanna was missing from the night’s festivities, global superstar Beyoncé took the stage as a presenter for the show’s final award. She presented the Grammy for Record of the Year to Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson for “Uptown Funk.” This was the duo’s second Grammy of the night.
Mars introduced Adele who had a rocky performance of “All I Ask,” which was co-written by Mars himself. Midway through her performance, a clunking noise was heard accompanied by her audio being cut off. Adele explained what altered her performance via Twitter.
“The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune,” Adelle said.
The 2016 Grammy’s also crowned first-time winners including Meghan Trainor, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton and Pitbull. Another first-time winner was Ed Sheeran, who took the Grammy for Song of the Year for ‘Thinking Out Loud.”
Numerous tributes of past musical icons were performed by some of today’s popular stars at the award ceremony.
Demi Lovato, John Legend, Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor and Tyrese performed an assortment of Lionel Richie’s most memorable songs. Richie joined the stars for a final group rendition of his song “All Night Long.”
B.B. King was memorialized with a performance by Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark Jr.
Lady Gaga led a tribute to David Bowie who died earlier this year. Gaga, dressed in Bowie-inspired attire and make-up, performed 10 of Bowie’s songs.
The 58th Annual Grammy Awards ended with a performance of “El Taxi” by Grammy-winner Pitbull. He was accompanied on stage by a dancing Sofia Vergara who was mentioned in his song.