Black excellence scored a tour de force during the first days of Black History Month when hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and pop recorders dominated prime time viewing of the 65th annual Grammy awards.
Via a televised presentation recently highlighted by performances from stellar Black achievers and the showcase of the most outstanding music recorders voted best by peers.
In the shortest month of the year, some added to an already bountiful cache while others elevated their status winning categories designated by the National Academy of Recording and Sciences.
From the colorful opening with Puerto Rican rapper, Bad Bunny to the newly-installed segment allowing diverse dialogue between music fan predictors, it was evident melanin would factor in deciding the outcome and final tally.
Most enchanting was South African whiz kid, Trevor Noah who introduced the global audience to videotaped and live depictions from veteran talents paying tribute to hip-hop’s half a century’s impactful influence throughout the continents.
In a throwback performance honoring 50 years of trailblazing cultural expressions, a dynamic assembly of breakdancing, graffiti artists and rappers used the platform to express Black culture.
LL Cool J, the rapper turned actor and three-time host of the prestigious ceremonies doubled his duty by offering a disclaimer, which informed the absence of many rappers he said would not perform with the veteran contributors.
Accordingly, he said eventually all would be acknowledged at other events slated to mark the milestone.
After that, he changed gears to join a crew selected to pay tribute to the golden anniversary year.
Among them, Rakim, Missy Elliot, Ice-T, Buster Rhymes, LL Cool J, Salt –N- Pepa, Queen Latifah, Doug E Fresh, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav, Run DMC, Method Man, Grandmaster Flash and other legends invited to pass the mic for a medley of rappers’ delights orchestrated by Roots drummer Questlove.
If only Will Smith had not muddied his reputation at the Academy Awards last year, the Fresh Prince might have made an appearance.
Reportedly, the Tonight Show musician — who was upstaged when the rapper turned actor slapped colleague Chris Rock — informed the press that Smith’s absence was due to a commitment to filming scenes for his sequel to “Bad Boys.”
However, Jazzy Jeff, Smith’s collaborator (during the early days of Smith’s career) exhibited skills on the turntables.
Rap was not the only genre to showboat excellence, rhythm and blues had its prime time moment when Stevie Wonder and early Motown Records signees joined him for a salute to the record label he was initially associated.
Smokey Robinson delivered a performance that was nothing short of electrifying when he segued singing songs he penned and recorded with collaborators.
Beyonce’s historic gains added the legacy of GOAT — Greatest of All Time — an achievement no other living individual has ever attained in the music industry. The top nominated Grammy artist of the year won four of the nine she competed enabling an unprecedented total of winning 32 golden gramophones.
Embraced by her husband, Jay-Z the Texas talent seemed overwhelmed by the moment. In thanking her nicknamed B-hive and those who voted her the all-time winner of the most golden, gramophones ever she gave a shout-out to her three off-springs who she said were home watching the broadcast.
Another unprecedented achievement includes emergence as the first Black woman to win the best dance/electronic album category for the single ‘Break My Soul.’
Yet with all the fanfare of the California salute, the conquest by actress Viola Davis for reading her own life story won a standing ovation and platitudes celebrating the pinnacle she now claims as one of the elite EGOT boasters. Davis won a Grammy for best audiobook narration and storytelling for the memoir titled “Finding Me.”
Added to her gainful collection of an Emmy, Oscar and Tony which she attained in television, movies and on the Broadway stage, the actress joins only two other Black females and 18 other super-achievers to make the claim.
The actress dazzled wearing a colorful red, white and silver outfit.
Apparently, she dressed for the historic occasion looking like a spangled star,
Ironically, she was first to introduce Beyonce’s first win of the night for “Cuff It,” the Best R&B Song.
However, if awards were handed to the loudest cheerers, every borough in New York could have collected after the announcement of the winner of the Best New Artist category. Bronx residents must have registered the loudest decibels though when 23-year old Samara Joy took the Best New Artist of the year miniature, gramophone. The uptown winner also doubled her gains winning the Best Jazz Vocal category.
Her gracious acceptance speech proved humbling to billions of viewers and particularly family members in the borough.
Other than being the founder of Death Row Records, Dr. Dre is acclaimed the first rapper to claim billionaire status and for ingeniously promoting Beats headsets, who knew the west coast rapper would also claim the first-ever Global Impact Award.
Other achieving Black talents during the first days of Black History Month included Melissa Viviane “Lizzo” Jefferson (Record of the Year), Dave Chappelle (Best Comedy) Kabaka Pyramid (Best Reggae Album) as well as others who accepted during pre-Grammy, off camera ceremonies.
It should also be noted that during a commercial break Jamaica’s Toots Hibbert was recalled when his 54-46 voiced an ad for Levi Jeans.
The song was written while the late reggae legend was imprisoned in 1968 and is now being featured in a global advertising campaign celebrating the 150th anniversary of the brand’s 501 Jeans.
February 2023, Black History Month now records a year Black American citizens — mostly considered descendants of former slaves — claimed their prize for excellence by stepping into the limelight to collect miniature, golden gramophones.
First lady Jill Biden witnessed the revelry. She seemed enthralled by the historic significance of the gala.
The educator also dazzled when she presented an award for “Baraye” a song that protests the death of 22-year-old Iranian Mahsa Amini who was accused of wearing a loose fitting hajib (head cover).
The song she said: “responds to the social issues of our time and has the potential for positive global impact.”
Biden, the bride of the avowed leader of the free world — US President Joe Biden — wore an off-shoulder silver ensemble.
Catch You On The Inside!