In an awards season that has finally started to tackle the problem of sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry, the 2018 Grammys broke with tradition and seemed to more explicitly address politics than ever before. At this year’s ceremony, celebrities used the opportunity to publicize the Time’s Up movement, discuss the continuing suicide epidemic, and recognize the targeting of immigrant communities.
In many ways, the ceremony felt like a dedicated attempt from the Academy to improve their reputation, which has been damaged by failing to recognize the accomplishments of black artists in favor of less significant white artists in the past (though it often felt like the Academy was overcorrecting for their missteps in the past, instead of creating genuine opportunities to address structural inequality and challenge systems of power).
This year’s ceremony saw the most Latino performers in over a decade, and even included acknowledgement of continuing attacks on immigrant communities. The presence of more Latino talent was memorable – after a year that saw renewed visibility for Latinos in mainstream pop music, it seems only natural that the Academy would create a ceremony that accurately reflects what the music landscape looked like in 2017. But for many, “Despacito” losing in the Song of the Year and Record of the Year categories felt like a missed opportunity – no matter what you think of it, the song became a global phenomenon, breaking records as one of the most-streamed songs of all time after garnering more than 4.6 billion plays across major platforms (and the “Despacito” music video remains the most-watched YouTube clip of all time).
Of course, there’s still much more work to be done to fight the segmentation of Latinos in the music industry, and the addressing the ongoing devastation in Puerto Rico remains key. Regardless of who you rooted for, here’s a roundup of what you may have missed at the show:
Camila Cabello expressed her support for Dreamers
“I’m here on this stage tonight because, just like the DREAMERs, my parents brought me to this country with nothing in their pockets but hope.”
Cardi B said she had butterflies in her stomach and vagina on the red carpet
Swizz Beatz wore a Ricardo Seco jacket on the red carpet with Alicia Keys
The jacket featured a famous quote from 19th century president Mexican president Benito Juárez.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee performed "Despacito"
Residente won Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
And true to form, he had a message for the marketing-obsessed music business. “Everyone is paying attention to numbers, numbers, numbers. And anyone can be relevant if they show their butts on Instagram.”
Rihanna, Bryson Tiller, and DJ Khaled performed "Wild Thoughts," but Santana was nowhere to be found.
Cardi B and Bruno Mars performed the "Finesse" remix
And Cardi even managed to sneak in some bars from her latest single “Bartier Cardi.”