Shit always goes down at the Grammys. Jennifer Lopez in That Dress in 2000, a pregnant M.I.A performing on her due date in 2009, Lady Gaga hatching out of an egg in 2011 and Queen Latifah making history in 2014 when she officiated 33 various gay and straight couples; just a few of the most talked about moments in the Grammy Awards’ history. The 2017 Grammys proved no different. Here we summarise the moments most like to be talking points of the night.
Adele’s Mean Girls Moment
In perhaps the most ‘what the heck?!’ moment of the night, Adele – who won the coveted Album of the Year award for 25 – used her acceptance speech to do the exact opposite; to reject the award, calling out Beyoncé’s triumph of a visual album and political statement, Lemonade, as the deserved winner. “I can’t possibly accept this award,” she began, going on to profess her love for Queen Bey, praising Lemonade for its beauty and how “soul bearing” it is. “[A]ll us artists adore you. You are our light. And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering, and you make them stand up for themselves. And I love you. I always have. And I always will. I appreciate it.”
Adele then went on to make Grammys history and all our mouths hang open in shock when she broke her Grammy award (true Cady Heron style), giving Beyoncé half as a token. Adele wept, Beyoncé wept, and so did most of the world. It is a beautiful moment of female empowerment and love, and is one of our favourite moments of the entire night.
Beyoncé, A True Goddess
Beyoncé may be pregnant with twins but that didn’t stop her from giving an achingly beautiful medley of tracks from Lemonade (Love Drought and Sand Castles). Dripping in gold, her outfit proudly displaying her pregnant belly, she instantly made a statement. For a society constantly grappling with the pregnant form and with the realities of motherhood – stretch marks, rounded stomach, breast feeding etc. – Beyoncé’s pride is a powerful thing to see at a major award show. After the fact singer Vanessa Williams about her own treatment at the 1993 Grammys (where her own pregnant belly was hidden) and lauded Beyoncé for her bravery.
The celebration of empowered motherhood did not stop there. In fact the entire performance was inspired by images of fertility and femininity. Beyoncé herself was a glittering fertility goddess, her golden outfit (designed by Peter Dundas) and performance itself drew comparisons with a pantheon of female deities: the African goddess , the Hindu goddesses and , and the Virgin Mary with a saint-like crown.
Surrounded by a group of worshipping back up dancers, each in their own floaty, goddess-like outfits, the entire performance was a reminder that Beyoncé is a true goddess amongst mere mortals.
“President Agent Orange”
As America experience some of the most politically uncertain times in recent history, the Grammys were awash with political message. As an event watched the world over it’s no surprise that artists and award presenters used their platforms to make statements about President Trump and his administration, and the uproar caused by it. The most powerful moment came from A Tribe Called Quest who teamed up with Busta Rhymes, Consequence and Anderson Paak to perform their protest anthem We The People: a song that critiques a society that does not accept diversity. The performance, A Tribe’s lead rapper Q-Tip said, was to “represent” “all those people who are pushing people in power to represent them”.
Unlike the more subtle and implied statements made by others, A Tribe and their collaborators made their message clear; breaking through a wall that recalls the wall Trump plans to build on the Mexican border, Busta Rhymes explicitly calling out President Trump’s “Muslim Ban”, and Q-Tip ending the song with a repeated “Resist. Resist. Resist.”
The highlight though? Busta Rhyme giving Trump a new nickname and protesters across the world a new slogan: “President Agent Orange”.
Katy Perry: #Resist
When Senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King (wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.) to the Senate and was refused to do so by Republican Mitch McConnell, McConnell unwittingly gave the Women’s Rights Movement a new slogan: “Nevertheless, she persisted”. Katy Perry, who was a vocal supporter of Hilary Clinton’s Presidential bid and who continues to show support for women’s rights, performed her new political pop song Chained To The Rhythm armed with the new battle cry. Wearing a simple white power suit (reminiscent of those Clinton wore herself on the campaign trail), Perry accessorised with an armband emblazoned with a single, simple word – Persist – and a Planned Parenthood pin.
Perry, who performed with Chained To The Rhythm collaborator Skip Marley (grandson of Bob Marley), ended the song with impact, standing hand-in-hand whilst the American Constitution was emblazoned on to the set. Between allusions to women’s rights, Clinton, Sen. Warren and Planned Parenthood, and given Perry’s own support of each, the performance is a powerful statement for a woman’s power over her own body and her reproductive rights.
Blue Ivy Carter
If there was a Grammy for the cutest attendee then Blue Ivy Carter would totally win. Dressed as Prince in a mini pink suit, ruffled shirt and accessorising with a glittery cat bag (that, tbh, I totally want myself), the littlest Carter almost stole the show. From cheering on her mum to dancing along to Bruno Mars’ performance of That’s What I Like and joining in with James Corden’s star studded carpool karaoke, Blue Ivy clearly had the best night at the Grammys.
twenty one pilots’ pants free
Finally, we can’t forget the moment Ohio-based rockers twenty one pilots’ stripped out of their trousers before making their way on stage to accept their first Grammy. Although the moment was hilarious, singer Tyler Joseph went on to explain the reasoning behind their odd wardrobe choice, stating that the first time they watched the Grammys – back when the band were relatively unknown and making no money – they were hanging out in their pants. Accepting the award with drummer Joshua Dun – and the second half of the band – Tyler mentioned how they made a deal, stating that if they were ever to win a Grammy, they would do so in their pants as a nod to that time when the band were just starting out. The message behind the statement, of course, was that no matter who you are or where you are, you can do anything, just like them.
Plus they looked super hot. Just saying.
Words by Esther Newman