Women rule Grammys 2021; India’s farmers’ issue gets red carpet mention

Among the women who won big were Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish

Lilly Singh
Lilly Singh, 32, sported a mask reading "I stand with farmers" at the red carpet | Photo: Twitter

The 2021 Grammy Awards witnessed several women musicians clinching their victorious moments in the industry in a challenging year, with India’s farmers’ agitation getting red carpet focus with popular Indo-Canadian YouTuber and talk show host Lilly Singh.

Singh, 32, who sported a mask reading “I stand with farmers” at the red carpet, tweeted a photo from the 63rd edition of the event and said since there’s intense media spotlight on the red carpet, this was the perfect opportunity to show her solidarity with farmers.

Among the women who won big on Sunday night were Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, and singer H.E.R. (who real name is Gabriella Wilson) who won it for song of the year for her single I Can’t Breathe, released last year during the Black Lives Matter protests across the US in the wake of Minneapolis police killing George Floyd.

H.E.R. had beat out competition from Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Roddy Ricch, Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and J.P. Saxe to win the award. In her acceptance speech, H.E.R said her aim has always been to bring about a positive change in the society through her music.

“We wrote this song over FaceTime, and I had no idea that my fear would turn into change. But that’s why I write music, that’s why I do this. I’m so grateful,” the musician said. “That fight we had in us the summer of 2020, keep that same energy,” she added. She also won best R&B song for Better Than I with Robert Glasper and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Pop diva Beyonce, with four wins at 2021 Grammy Awards, became the most awarded female artiste in the history of the ceremony organised by Recording Academy. She was nominated in nine categories and won an award with Megan Thee Stallion for Savage (Remix) for best rap song as well as one for Black Parade for best R&B performance.

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In the pre-telecast premiere ceremony, the pop star won the best music video award for Brown Skin Girl and another trophy for Savage. With 28 Grammy wins in all, Beyonce broke a mark set by veteran singer Alison Krauss. She trails only classical conductor Sir George Solti, who still holds the all-time record with 31 Grammys.

“As an artist, I believe it’s my job and all of our jobs to reflect the times. And it’s been such a difficult time. And so, I want to uplift, encourage, and celebrate all the beautiful Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world,” the pop singer said after winning the R&B performance award for Black Parade.

Singer Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas won the best song written for the visual media Grammy award for their James Bond theme from the unreleased No Time to Die movie, the 25th film in the franchise, which was initially suppose to arrive in the theatres in April 2020 but was pushed amid the pandemic. It is now slated to hit the theatres on October 8, 2021.

It was for the first time in the Grammys history that a track from an unreleased film won the award. In the past, the song, titled No Time to Die, would have been disqualified, but the Grammy soundtrack committee tweaked its rules amid the coronavirus pandemic, which had a huge impact on movie release calendar.

Eilish, the youngest musician to write a James Bond theme song, released No Time to Die track last year on February 13. The singer-songwriter, who also performed during the 63rd annual show, accepted the award during the pre-show.

Singer Taylor Swift’s album of the year win for ‘Folklore’ made her the first female artiste to win the top honour three times in her career. She had also won it in 2010 for her album Fearless and again in 2015 for 1989. Prior to the pop singer, celebrated musicians Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon have won the top prize thrice.

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Swift’s Folklore defeated nominated albums by Jhene Aiko, Black Pumas, Coldplay, Jacob Collier, HAIM, Dua Lipa and Post Malone to win the prize. In her acceptance speech, she thanked her collaborators, Laura Sisk, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, and her boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn, for helping her write the songs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The album, Swift’s eighth, released in July last year. In addition to album of the year, Swift was nominated at the ceremony for pop solo performance (Cardigan), pop duo/group performance (Exile), song written for visual media (Beautiful Ghosts), pop vocal album (Folklore) and song of the year (Cardigan).

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion took home the best new artist trophy. The 26-year-old was presented the awarded by fellow Houstanian Lizzo, who won three trophies last year but not best new artist, which went to Billie Eilish. Following her best new artist win, Megan received the best rap song Grammy for her and Beyonce’s Savage (Remix).

Hosted by Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show”, the 2021 Grammy Awards were held at the Los Angeles Convention Center with COVID-19 protocols in place. Other venues were used for the reading of nominations and announcement of winners in various categories.