Grammys honour perpetrator of domestic violence
On Sunday night, Chris Brown took the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, not once — not twice, but three times. First, Brown performed a medley of “Turn Up The Music” and
“Beautiful People,” then accepted his award for best R & B album for F.A.M.E. and finally, performed alongside David Guetta, Lil Wayne and Foo Fighters.
On Grammy Sunday three years ago Brown viciously assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna, resulting in her hospitalization.
On an evening where the spotlight was so brightly cast on the tragic passing of Whitney Houston, who famously suffered domestic abuse at the hand of ex-husband Bobby Brown, going on the struggle for years with substance abuse and depression, the Recording Academy found it appropriate to pay homage to the talents of Chris Brown three times. In such a public and influential forum, the music industry has re-instated Chris Brown with open arms; broadcasting to viewers and fans alike, all is forgiven. What message does this send?
To ignore that he hospitalized a woman the industry adores, three years ago to date seems too much of an oversight to escape comment. Bullying, a common issue in today’s schools and society, is certainly perpetuated by such messages: the abuser is a hero and the victim ought to get over it. The young girls watching saw exactly how that played out.
Jennifer Hudson honoured the late Houston with a rendition of her song “I Will Always Love You.”
Otherwise, the 54th Grammy Awards, hosted by LL Cool J. had several great moments and even more moments which functioned to enforce what I already knew about the state of today’s music industry: it’s tragic.
Adele, the current poster-girl for musical talent, fulfilled great expectations, taking home the big three: record of the year for herself and Paul Epworth, album of the year and song of the year. By far the highest selling artist of 2011, Adele performed her song “Rolling in the Deep” — the very song which won her two Grammys that night, also winning best solo pop performance for “Someone Like You” and best vocal pop album.
Adele wasn’t pitch perfect but definitely displayed the serious talent we know her to posses. The star-studded audience responded to her performance with one of the longest and more enthusiastic standing ovations of the evening. How many 23 years old’s have received a standing O from Paul McCartney?
Another high point was the Beach Boys tribute. Aside from the initial hilarity of a group who would look more at home in rocking chairs than on the Grammy stage and brief moments of concern for their plastic hips, the band delivered a great performance, following a tribute in which Maroon 5 and Foster the People performed classic Beach Boys hits before joining the legendary band on-stage for “Good Vibrations.”
Electronic music had tenfold the presence of any previous year, reflecting the shift of the mainstream towards electronic, house and dubstep music. Skrillex took home two Grammys: best dance recording and best dance/electronic album for Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.
In probably the most unexpected Grammy win of the night, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon accepted the Grammy for best new artist, voicing his appreciation for the “sweet hook-up” in his acceptance speech, also winning the award for best alternative music album, beating out both Foster the People and Radiohead.
Nikki Minaj offended a large chunk of the population of the Western world with her performance, in which she confessed her sins to a mock-pope and he attempted to perform an exorcism on her alter ego, Roman, after arriving on the red carpet in silk robes accompanied by her Vatican counterpart. Minaj was all gimmicks and no talent and doesn’t merit further mention.
Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl expressed controversial opinions on the importance of the “human aspect” of making music, stating “it’s not about sounding perfect, it’s about singing into a microphone,” while accepting one of their four Grammy awards (best rock performance, best hard rock/metal performance, best rock song, best rock album).
Oddly, the broadcast panned out and cut to music at least five seconds before Grohl finished his speech, perhaps in an effort to avoid later controversy. Those who expressed appreciation for the sentiments via standing ovation were likely confused half an hour later, when the band took the stage to play “Rope” while electronic producer Deadmau5 DJed.
Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy took home rap album of the year, to the great happiness of many rap fans — the general consensus has seemed to be that West has been glaringly overlooked in past years and would be wrongfully overlooked had he not taken home the award in 2012.
West was honoured again when “Otis,” with Jay-Z, won best rap performance and “All of the Lights” with Rihanna won both best rap/sung collaboration and best rap song. West and Jay were notably absent from the Awards, despite being multiple winners.
Famous ex-Beatle and current embarrassing aisle-dancer Paul McCartney performed twice during the broadcast and was joined in the audience by his new wife, New Yorker Nancy Chevell.
Tony Bennett won two Grammys, and performed a duet with Carrie Underwood, far exceeding her in vocal talent, at 85 years old.