The 2023 Grammys: Another Bittersweet Ceremony
BY: MARI RIVERA / STAFF WRITER
The 2023 Grammy Awards aired on February 5th, and the 65th annual ceremony hosted by the Recording Academy sparked quite the media attention.
This year’s ceremony was the first full ceremony with things relatively back to normal in Los Angeles since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. From new award categories to the 18th person in history to reach EGOT status, this year’s Grammys was definitely an eventful occasion.
The Grammy’s were first held in 1959. The record player which was revolutionary in booming the music industry. The statuette that each winner receives is a gold-plated record player, also known as a phonograph or a gramophone, which is where the name Grammy's originates.
While the purpose of the Grammys is to recognize “spectacular work in the music industry,” is the Grammy’s awards ceremony truly accurate and relevant?
Some people believe that yes it is, it is the highest honor from the music industry; while others argue that the judges do not consider the opinions of the public masses or diversity and inclusion, and instead merely focus on commercial success.
Take the Weeknd for instance, who boycotted the Grammys after the 2021 ceremony. His LP After Hours stood at the no. 1 spot on the Billboard chart for four consecutive weeks, and he won Billboard’s top radio song and top R&B song of the year and song of the year for “Blinding Lights.” Realistically, he should have been nominated for the 2021 Grammy’s, but he wasn’t.
The Weeknd was not the only boycotter of the widely-acclaimed ceremony.
As of 2023, in all 65 years of the awards ceremony, only 11 Black artists have had won the album of the year award as lead artists. That number is quite disproportionate to the amount of years the Grammys have been celebrated and to the amount of nominations and winners for all of the various categories. Even worse, a Black woman hasn’t won the award for album of the year since 1999 when Lauryn Hill won for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Despite the war of words over everything, the 2023 Grammy’s had some memorable happenings.
Harry Styles and His Acceptance Speech
Harry Styles won the 2023 Grammy award for best pop vocal album for his album Harry’s House, which was released May 20, 2022. Harry’s House was co-produced by Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson. The album also won the Grammy award for album of the year. His album was inspired by 70s pop production, the album debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart a month after its release.
During his acceptance speech, Styles made a remark that sparked a great deal of controversy amongst people.
He said, “This is really, really kind. I'm so, so grateful" adding, "This doesn't happen to people like me very often.”
The debate over his statement comes from the fact that Harry Styles didn’t make it clear what he meant by “people like me.”
White men and white-man fronted bands have won almost more than half of the times, and he is the 33rd white male to win. In terms of diversity and acknowledging privilege, people took to social media to call Styles out on his ignorance.
While some can claim that he is referring to being queer since he openly supports the LGBTQ+ community, Harry Styles himself has never publicly claimed a label and instead chooses to keep his sexuality undisclosed.
Beyoncé, a woman of color, was also nominated for album of the year for her album Renaissance. Despite the fact that she has been musically active for much longer than Styles has, and has always been renowned for her high commercial and popularity level, she still has yet to earn that award which caused additional backlash towards Styles.
This Year Marks the 18th EGOT Winner
Viola Davis has earned EGOT status at the 2023 Grammys Awards Ceremony, becoming one of only 18 people to achieve this feat.
To be an EGOT, you must have earned all of the four major American entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.
Davis earned the last award needed for Best Audiobook for narrating her audiobook Finding Me: A Memoir.
Referring to her award winning book, Davis said "I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola — to honor her life, her joy, her trauma, her everything. And it has been such a journey. I just EGOT!"
Viola Davis is talented and the entertainment industry recognizes it. Davis won her first Tony for Best Featured Actress in a play in 2001 (King Hedley II), and for Best Leading Actress in a play in 2010 (Fences). In 2015, she made history as the first Black woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a drama series at the Emmy Awards for the show How to Get Away With Murder.
For the film adaptation of the play Fences, Davis reprised her role from the play, winning the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 2017.
With this, she completed the "Triple Crown of Acting." With four nominations to her name, Davis is the most nominated Black actress in Oscar history.
This is huge, not only because of how few people have achieved this, but because Viola Davis is a woman of color, and unfortunately women and people of color are often left out of the winner’s circle.
New Categories for the 2023 Grammys
This year, the Recording Academy announced five new categories for the 2023 Grammys. These categories include: Songwriter Of The Year (Non-Classical), Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Americana Performance, Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media, and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.
In addition to the new awards, there was also a new special merit award: Best Song For Social Change.
This brings the total gramophone trophy count to 91, which is the most awards given out in 13 years.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement regarding the changes “We're so excited to honor these diverse communities of music creators through the newly established awards and amendments, and to continue cultivating an environment that inspires change, progress, and collaboration.”
Somehow this ideal of diversity in the Grammys winner community has been lacking, but hopefully the new award categories help to remedy that.
The 65th Grammys and all its glory can be watched at anytime at live.GRAMMY.com