If you aren’t up on Grammys drama, you might have missed the subtle dig Alicia Keys made at the Recording Academy during her opening monologue at tonight’s Grammy Awards, following her Kobe Bryant tribute with Boys II Men. “I’m proud to be here as an artist, for the artists, with the people, and I feel the energy of all the beautiful artists in this room,” Keys explains. “It’s a new decade. It’s time for newness and we refuse the negative energy. We refuse the old systems. Feel me on that.”
Current “negative energy” surround Deborah Dugan’s removal as Grammys CEO aside, you might recall the drama that resulted in 2018 when then-Recording Academy president Neil Portnow responded to criticism of the Grammys’ lack of female winners by saying women need to “step up“ if they want to succeed in the music industry. At last year’s Grammys, Portnow biffed it again by seeming to congratulate himself for his personal growth following the self-induced debacle.
“We want to be respected, and safe, in our diversity,” continued Keys Sunday night. “We want to be shifting to realness and inclusivity. So tonight, we want to celebrate the people. The artists that put themselves on the line and share their truth with us.” The singer then launched into a parody of Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” poking fun at the year in music, impeachment and, of course, how interminable the Grammys always are. Joked Keys, “It’s the Grammys: 10,000 hours long/So keep the speeches short and go for one more song.”