The 2022 Grammys, which aired earlier this week, was centered around enjoyable entertainment as the last few years have been filled with criticisms from Black artists. It was not that the Black artists who have been continuously snubbed or categorized in a limited way did not continue to exercise their disdain and independence. Prominent hip hop artists such as J. Cole, who was nominated for four awards, Best Rap Album (“The Off-Season”), Best Melodic Rap Performance (“Pride Is the Devil”), Best Rap Performance (“My Life”), and Best Rap Song (“My Life”), did not attend the awards show. He also did not win in any of the categories.
Best Rap Album winner Tyler the Creator for his 2021 album, “Call Me If You Get Lost” was also not in attendance.
Kanye West did not attend the ceremony, not by his own will or desire, but because he was banned from performing or sharing his presence this year due to the heated public battle between him and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. West was set to perform this year but did not enjoy the honor. Nonetheless, he grabbed two awards: Best Melodic Rap Performance for “Hurricane” featuring The Weeknd and Lil Baby and Best Rap Song for
“Jail” featuring Jay-Z. These wins gave him a total of 24 Grammy wins amongst 75 nominations over the span of his career.
The young hip hop artist, Baby Keem received his first Grammy award for Best Rap Performance for “Family Ties” featuring Kendrick Lamar.
Doja Cat walked away with Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Kiss Me More” with SZA making her the only woman rapper to receive an award.
Among the performances, Nas offered a powerful and satisfying performance of a collection of his songs. He was regal, poised and flowed effortlessly over a live band giving him an incredible backdrop to accompany his iconic music. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak opened the show with a fun and exciting performance.
But the biggest winner of the night was by far Jon Batiste. The recording artist, bandleader, musical director and film composer took home five Grammy awards including Album of the Year for his latest musical effort “We Are.” Batiste also performed a beautiful song called “Freedom” and showed the world, as he always has, how gifted and deserving he was of stealing the night with his flurry of wins.
This year’s Grammys was not the most revolutionary night for Black artists, but there was a tone of enjoyment and respect during the ceremony. Black artists have been excelling at their craft since the roots of American Black music emerged into the fore, becoming unavoidable for white gatekeepers to ignore. And this year, there was a level of class and dignity which acutely contrasted with the goings on at this year’s Oscar awards.