— Photo from Creative Commons —
On Sunday, Feb. 5, the 65th Annual Grammy Awards was another historic night for Black artists. Hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah, who hosted the 63rd and 64th ceremonies, the ceremony recognized the best recordings, compositions and artists released from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022.
The first broken records relating to the ceremony were announced after nominations on Nov. 15, 2022. With Beyoncé receiving nine nominations and her husband, Jay-Z, receiving five nominations, The Carters became the most-nominated artists in Grammys history, each having received 88 career nominations.
Starting the night strong, Actress Viola Davis earned the Grammy for Best Audio Book, Narration and Storytelling Recording for her memoir, “Finding Me.”, giving her the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) distinction. She follows Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson as the third Black woman to receive an EGOT with this victory while making history as the first to achieve the distinction at the GRAMMY Awards.
Bronx-born jazz singer Samara Joy became the second jazz artist and the 1oth Black woman to win Best New Artist. Earlier in the night, she won Best Jazz Vocal Album for her sophomore album, “Linger Awhile.” Joy sang the opening track on “Linger Awhile,” the jazz standard “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” at the Grammy Premiere Ceremony.
LL Cool J presented the first-ever inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award to Dr. Dre. The Award was created in partnership with the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective and “recognizes the contributors, creatives and professionals with a proven track record of uplifting Black music.”
Beyoncé broke another record when she became the individual with the most Grammy Awards won in a lifetime. A record previously held by the 31 claimed by Georg Solti, a Hungarian-British conductor. A record set when he earned his final prize for best opera recording in 1997. While she was already the most awarded female artist in the awards’ history, Beyoncé’s four wins out of nine nominations set her total wins at 32. During the pre-telecast proceedings, Beyoncé won best dance/electronic recording for “Break My Soul” and best traditional R&B performance for “Plastic Off the Sofa.” She won Best R&B Song for “Cuff It” and Best Dance/Electronic Album for “Renaissance” during the prime-time telecast. Making history again, she became the first Black woman to win the Grammy award for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Tems became the first Nigerian woman to win a Grammy. She won Best Melodic Rap Performance for her contribution to the song “Wait for U” with Future and Drake.
Lizzo became the first Black woman to win Record of the Year this century for her song “About Damn Time!” This record was the first single off Lizzo’s “Special” album and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The last black woman to win this award was Whitney Houston when she won for her rendition of “I Will Always Love You” in 1994.
South African artists Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, and Wouter Kellerman won Best Global Music Performance for their collaboration song “Bayethe.” This win marks the tenth time a Grammy Award will come home to South Africa.
The 65th Annual Grammy Awards was indeed a celebration of Black excellence from all over the world. Black artist received a multitude of awards for their ongoing contribution to the music industry while setting a wide range of records and benchmarks. As Trevor Noah said, “‘Music isn’t just the harmony of sound. It’s the harmony of human beings of different races, genders, religions, identities, sexual orientations, knowing we’re different but rejecting division.’