The 60th Annual Grammy Awards returned to New York City on Sunday night and featured second-time host, James Corden, at the helm of the biggest night in music. While the event boasted messages of the #MeToo movement throughout the 3.5-hour show, only one woman took home an award in a major category. Still, there were bright moments of hope and support in a show that was otherwise dominated by male voices congratulating themselves on a job well done.
Although not a nominee this year, singer and actor Janelle Monae used her stage time introducing Kesha to remind the audience that the Time’s Up movement continues to radiate throughout every industry, including music. “We come in peace, but we mean business,” said Monae. “And to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up. We say time’s up for pay inequality, time’s up for discrimination, time’s up for harassment of any kind, and time’s up for the abuse of power. Because, you see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington — it’s right here in our industry as well. And just as we have the power to shake culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well.”
Monae’s powerful words were a fitting introduction for Kesha, who performed her comeback single “Praying” during Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Praying” and Best Pop Vocal Album for Rainbow, Kesha’s moving single was written in response to the years she spent entangled in a lawsuit with her former record company over allegations that she had been sexually and emotionally assaulted by her former producer, Dr. Luke.
Adding even more gravity to the already passionate and empowering track, a choir of women, including Bebe Rexha, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and Andra Day joined Kesha on stage. Wearing all white in support of the Time’s Up movement, the performance made for the most powerful and important moment of the night and stood out as a stark reminder that the music industry, like most industries, still has far to go in supporting its women.
As the only woman to win one of the night’s main awards, 21-year-old Alessia Cara accepted the highly coveted Grammy for Best New Artist. Cara made history on Sunday by not only being the sole female taking home hardware in a major category, but she also became the first Canadian to ever win Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards. The Brampton, ON native used her time at the mic to urge people to look at music not as a popularity contest, but instead asked that they work towards giving opportunities to lesser-known musicians.
Cara also performed during Sunday night’s Grammy awards, taking the stage to sing the suicide awareness song “1-800-273-8255” with Logic and fellow Best New Artist nominee, Khalid.
In 2016, Cara won the JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and took home the JUNO for Pop Album of the Year in 2017. In 2016, she won the iHeartRadio MMVA for Best New Canadian, returning in 2017 to co-host the annual award show with Joe Jonas.