On Tributes, Taylor and Kendrick the Great: My 2016 GRAMMY Awards Recap

I always judge an awards show on how many times throughout that I felt like sliding out my chair unto the floor. If the answer is “less than 4” then I was relatively entertained. If the answer is “zero” then it was an incredible show. The 2016 GRAMMY Awards gets a 2 on the “makes me wanna *wall slide*” scale so it wasn’t torturous but it also wasn’t the best I’ve ever had.

58th GRAMMY Awards

The awards show started with Taylor Swift and almost ended with her too. If I said I wasn’t butthurt about it, I’d be lying.

Anywho, I got questions that need answers.

* When will LL Cool J decide to start aging? I mean, he can press “PLAY” anytime. I’m not complaining, though. Him and those dimples. I could just fall into them. Yum.

* Who told The Weeknd to put his ONE loc in a bang?

The Weeknd Lucy

Graphic by @BenjaminJS. NAILED IT.

I mean, that style was so tragic that I couldn’t even focus on his performance. In fact, I spent the entire time he was onstage detangling my own locs. They’ve been scared straight.

* How angry were PETA’s board members when they saw Andra Day’s coat? On a scale of 1 to Koala Bear when you pet it and it didn’t give you permission. I just wanna know how much flailing they did. Our girl, Andra, came in her Abominable Snowman ensemble and sang the house down.

Come through, coat and legs!

Come through, coat and legs!

* Can Ellie Goulding’s legs have their own Twitter account? Those gams are AMAZING. I’d never wear pants, if I were her.

* Why was the Lionel Richie tribute such a disappointment? I mean, HELLO (ha!) it’s Lionel. Y’all coulda had a ball with this. They got John Legend (who I love), Demi Lovato, Tyrese to sing and I’m like “what is with this combination?” Bruno Mars and his Grape Now n Laters suit were sitting right behind Lionel and I kept yelling at my TV screen for him to tun on stage and handle it. Come on, bruh. I was so underwhelmed and I kept looking for Fantasia. These ones kept their shoes on so it just ain’t hit my spirit.

Lionel himself got up there in his shiny blazer, BECAUSE HIS HATERS CAN’T STOP HIS LEGENDARY SHINE. And he clearly went and got his hair freshly dyed yesterday morning because his joint was Blacker than Samuel L. Jackson.

* Why does Stevie Wonder always get this shoddy treatment?? I’m about sick of folks for not paying reverence and proper #amish (instead of homage) to the Wondrous One. He did a tribute too (of course) to Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire. And it was with the Pentatonix (who??? This isn’t shade. I haven’t heard of a lot of musicians. My iTunes is still optimized for the 90s).

Besides that fact that it looked thrown together, that wasn’t what irked my nerves the most. It was that they weren’t even backup to Stevie.

Why isn't Stevie in front?

Why isn’t Stevie in front?

They were all in the same visual line. ARE THEY HIS AGE MATE? Which kin’ disrespect is this?? Y’all better put Stevie’s mic in front of theirs! I got so upset that I forgot to really complain about Stevie’s runaway hairline. You know I can’t help myself.

But ennehweighs, Mr. Wonder is a classy man, and when it was time to present an award, he also showed that he takes his activism to heart. He took the time to advocate for those who aren’t fully able with “We need to make everything accessible to every person with a disability.”

Stevie Wonder GRAMMYs

Graphic by Huffington Post

TELL EM, STEVIE!!! YES. He also shouted out “Black Lives Matter.” BECAUSE HE IS A REAL G. And this is why his star will never dim.

* Did Tori Kelly come to be remembered? YES SHE DID. She got on that stage and SANG, y’all. I was so here for her.

* Whose kidney do I need to sell to get Hamilton Musical tickets? I heard those joints are basically sold out til like 2018 and I did a struggle wail to the heavens. DAMB. The mini performance they did on the GRAMMYs and the RAVE reviews my friends have given me about the musical tell me I need to be in that piece. But seems tickets are harder to get than a full day without white nonsense. Iunno what I’ma do, man. DAMBIT.

* How Black was Kendrick Lamar’s performance? It was so Black that I’m pretty sure some of the White folks in the audience clutched their pearls and wiggled in their seats in discomfort. Kendrick came out in shackles and with a black eye and proceeded to KILL in a performance that was reminiscent of “Jesus Walks” Kanye.

Kendrick Grammys Shuffle

I spent the entire time transfixed because it was so powerful, as fire blazed behind him and he spit into the mic with all the passion in his body.

It was so Black. It was so right. IT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT THE ENTIRE SHOW. And then he ended his set standing in front of a map of Africa that had “COMPTON” laying over the West side. YO. YOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I mighta lost my mind for a second. Because in the Blackest Black History Month ever, Kendrick Lamar went to the Grammys and gave the Blackest performance ever. And PEAK Blackness happened, if only for a millisecond. I bet if scientists were recording the moment on fancy equipment, it woulda broken.

Kendrick Lamar Grammys

Straight Outta Africa

I wish the show woulda gone to commercial break at that point because I needed to recover from that. I needed a break from my own turntness. Because right after, Hamilton Musical’s Lin Manuel accepted their award for Best Musical, and rapped his acceptance speech. And I could barely contain myself because the show was HELLA ONYX.

* Did the GRAMMYs auditorium smell like patchouli oil and incense? Did kente streamers fall from the rafters during commercial break? I just need to know the after-effects of all that Blackdom.

* Who sabotaged Adele Laurie Blue Adkins? It was the first Adele performance I’ve heard where she didn’t sound right, and she looked like she was gon cuss someone out backstage afterwards. Even still! Don’t you sit up there and question the flawlessness of Adele Laurie Blue Adkins! Shoo…

Also, why didn't they use anti-flyaway spray for my girl? Sabotage, man.

Also, why didn’t they use anti-flyaway spray for my girl? Sabotage, man.

* Isn’t it cute that Justin Bieber got some bass in his voice now? And you see he got a little mouth hat hair? I SEE YOU. He hopped around that stage all hyped up about his song. It was adorable. But why was he wearing Sofia Petrillo’s Sunday night at bingo leopard jacket?

* How perfect was it that they got Lady Gaga to do the David Bowie tribute? Absolutely perfect. Although, I do think it ran a bit long.

Lady Gaga Bowie

* Can they make the BB King tribute set available on iTunes? Because Bonnie Raitt slid on that stage with her guitar and showed the boys how it’s done and I loved it.

* Why did I spritz my TV with holy water when Alice Cooper an’ ’em got on stage? I know, y’all. Alive is apparently a born again Christian but that set. Whew. Had me reciting Psalm 91. It just didn’t sit right in my spirit. I had to use anointing oil so Jesus would know I wasn’t with them.

* Did Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes come to slay? Yes she did. She performed in a white cape dress that was fierce and her fresh twistout was hitting it!

Brittany Howard Alabama Shakes

* Why have we lost so many amazing musicians in this last year? Maurice White. BB King. David Bowie. Ben E. King. Scott Weiland. Percy Sledge. Rene Angelil. Natalie Cole. Damb!

* How is Verdine White’s hair always in place? ALWAYS. The man can rock a good blowout and a wrap. Whew. Come through.

* Has Beyonce been reading blogs? She got on that stage and said “Art is the unapologetic celebration of cultural expression.” She knows we’ve been calling her unapologetically Black this last week and a half.

Also, she looked tired of everyone’s bullshit on that stage. That, or she was bored. Maybe both.

* How much shade did Taylor Swift throw in her acceptance speech? A lot. First she told folks to check her resume by making sure we knew that she was the first woman to win “Album of the Year” twice. Then she went on to talk about how haters basically elevate you *cough* KANYE. And how if you work hard, you too can get to where you’re going.

Taylor Grammy

I agree with that and I said my sideways “congrats” but I gotta say. She’s been outchea prospering for a decade, which is no small feat. She gets props for that.

HOWEVER, Taylor Swift is OKAY af. Dassit. She is talented but in my opinion, she is not extraordinary. You know how someone hands you a bagel but doesn’t put cream cheese on it? Taylor Swift is that bagel. It’s cool but could be better. Sit up there and tell me Taylor Swift is an AMAZING musician. SAT UP THERE AND TELL THAT LIE. She is an OK one who has rich parents and has white privilege by the GOBS. She ain’t on that stage just from her hard work. She stands on shoulders. But ennehweighs, congrats girl.

The moral of this story is: Kanye gotta STFU and stop emboldening her and making white folks feel like they need to reward the girl who cried because of the class bully made. This is Kanye’s fault.

* Is Pitbull what happens when you take Sean Paul and Ricky Martin and they have a baby no one understands? Yes. Also, can someone tell Sofia Vergara that I’m rooting for her and want better for her? I mean, lady. Why are you on the stage whining for Pitbull??

Sofia Vergara Pitbull

Do you, girl.

* Where the hell was a proper Natalie Cole tribute? I mean, come on! They coulda cut into Justin Bieber’s performance time or something. That was a glaring ball drop for the GRAMMYs, and an incredibly unfortunate one too.

Anywho, Kendrick won the night, in my opinion. He walked away with 5 GRAMMYs and he is the person people cannot stop talking about today. Much deserved.

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  1. Natasha
    February 16, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    The issue with Stevie and Pentatonix (and I love me some Pentatonix), was that was the lamest tribute for Maurice White I could’ve ever imagined. The Grammys did great for Bowie and BB, but that was pure disrespect for Maurice and Natalie.

    • notconvincedgranny
      February 16, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Took my thoughts from me. Glenn Frey’s bandmates played for him; EWF was receiving a Lifetime Achievement – why couldn’t they perform? And that lame ass “best for last” in the memoriam section for Natalie Cole was too little, too late. Gaga was merely gaga-disjointed, crazy, overdone, trying too hard to bond with Nile Rogers while he’s trying to perform. Queen Bey in her designer wedding dress is where the show should have ended, since no one was paying attention anymore after that.

      And Grammy (and all award shows) – give. people. enough. time. to. shine. Cutting off the acceptance speeches is at best, tacky AF.

  2. Jazzy Joyce
    February 16, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Tay Tay is always #TeamTooMuch at award shows and I’m gonna need her to stop it. Cheering on other winners is cool but getting up to hug them on their way to the stage is grandstanding, period. Keep it cute or put on mute!

    • Desireé
      February 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Allllll the YES!! I was wondering if she helped write his song or something!

    • niksmit
      February 16, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      I concur wholeheartedly.

    • Cynthia G
      February 16, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      To be honest: that heffa gets on my nerves. I’m so sick of her playing the victim or the former victim who overcame made up bullshit in her mind. How old is she? On paper? You sure? Yep she’s won awards and is successful and not everyone needs a powerhouse voice so I take nothing away from her success. But bitch please, you so extra for no reason. Ugh we see you already damn!
      Aside from all that I am glad she shaded Kanye’s delusional ass (because I’m petty). I’ve grown tired of them both. Their tomfoolery is as welcome as a hair bump in my “special place.”

  3. MNLioness
    February 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Re: your Grammy article – ON POINT!

    Re: about seeing Hamilton – I try to console myself with the cast album of Hamilton. It is EVERYTHING! And the #Ham4Ham on youtube. And the book coming out in April. You should also tweet Lin-Manuel Miranda – he is hilarious and joyous and poignant.

  4. Christina Joy
    February 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    What in the whole world was Stevie wearing? Nothing fit, the camouflage was craziness, the green glasses and them florescent shoes! All that paired with his back pocket hairline was too much. Everything about his time on stage seemed contrived. Even the braille on the award card. I was happy when it was all over….except his adlibs about Black power and disability awareness…those were on point.

    • Stacy
      February 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      Sometimes I think to myself if Stevie could see for a day he’d slap his stylist. Post afro Stevie has just never had a really nice outfit. His blazers always look too big. And why is he always in a blazer? And his hair, sweet baby Jesus! His whole style is just terrible. Who is doing this to Stevie? I can’t see him saying get me a camo blazer. I just can’t!

  5. Marvymds
    February 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I was so bored right up until the Lionel Richie tribute that I almost didn’t make it. The show is too long, and why was it on a Monday night? They really should have had Bruno Mars up there because Tyrese was being way too proper during “Brick House.” You have to stretch out the Word hooooouse to do that song right.

    I’m glad that I stayed up and saw Kendrick and that BB King tribute.

  6. Vkelley
    February 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Based on Kendrick’s performance alone, I’m officially extending Black History Month to March. I even clutched my invisible pearls during his performance.

  7. Chequitha Council-Purcell
    February 16, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Taylor Swift is just water in a wine glass. Not even Perrier. She just plain old tap water.

    • Kourtney
      February 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      HA!!! Love this. Agreed.

  8. CourtneyH
    February 16, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks for the recap!

    I love Pentatonix, but you are right…they aren’t Stevie’s peers. With regards to them though, you should look up Kevin Olusola on YouTube. He is a talented man. My only issue with Pentatonix is with how limited Kevin’s role is in the group.

    That being said, Maurice was shafted. That was a flimsy tribute compared to the David Bowie production.

  9. Lyn
    February 16, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Great recap!! But, that wasn’t Sofia’s jacket. Nuh uh, he got that from Fran Dresher’s Yetta.

  10. Lou
    February 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I’m still mad about Tay. She’s not even technically correct. Lauryn Hill, Allison Krause, and Norah Jones have all won 2 grammys for album of the year. the difference being solo albums vs group.
    The biggest insult is that Taylor has had so much help and money and every time she opens her mouth like this she gives my fellow white people an excuse to “non-racistly” celebrate a triumph over a Black person and the license to publicly denigrate said Black person.
    she’s the worst.

    • howlingbanshee
      February 16, 2016 at 2:58 pm


    • Candi
      February 16, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      She meant as a solo performer which she is the first woman to do that.

  11. Erica
    February 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Pentatonix is a fantastic acapella group that won NBC’s Sing-Off a few years ago. Please get into them, Luvvie! I know you’re a 90s oldhead (like most of Luvv-Nation), but you are also a curator of excellence, so you should find something noteworthy in their work. Youtube them singing Marvin Gaye’s “Lets’ get it on” when they were on The Sing-off. Let us know what you think!!!

    Further, I didn’t like how the Grammy’s treated tributes. Some people got large ones, and others were afterthoughts. And that’s not fair. They should do a comprehensive In Memoriam segment for all the big-named folks that is a combination of live performance and a video montage.

  12. Milaxx
    February 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Tay is the benefit of good PR and business sense. She done found her lane and works it hard. Congrats and all, but she ain’t for me. I don’t dislike her, but I am rarely entertained by her.
    Of all the tributes, the BB King one was my favorite. Bonnie Raitt and her stripped down, no nonsense performance gave him the tribute he deserved. Gaga had the visuals on point, but really should have stuck to 2 – 3 good songs performed really well instead of trying to squeeze in Bowie’s entire musical library.
    Pitt Bull was an embarrassment and Sophia should have stayed home with her fine hubby. She don’t need to show up wiggling at every show so we remember she’s hot.

    Kendrick Lamar made this show for me. I keep rewatching that performance.

    • Nef05
      February 17, 2016 at 2:39 am

      When I saw her (Sophia) and what she was doing, I said (out loud) “WTF is she doing there, acting like Charo on “The Love Boat”‘? I know that makes me old af, but tell me I’m wrong and she didn’t look like she was about to break out the shoulder shimmying “coochie coochie coo” at any second…

  13. Karen S.
    February 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Many great things to love in and about this post but I must say, “Grape Now ‘ Laters suit” had me rolling.

    And I bow down to Kendrick. Amen.

  14. Sarah
    February 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I never liked Taylor Swift until I heard another musician cover her songs. Then I realized she is an incredible songwriter and the respect I have for her musically has grown into fandom. The standing up to hug her “opponent” was super annoying and to be honest, I’ve never actually listened to more than her latest album 1989 (again because I loved it after hearing it covered) but the girl can write. And that’s one of the hardest parts of creating music. The grammy’s celebrates and awards the creation of music and they absolutely consistently lean towards white. But Taylor Swift has a song creator is certainly not water in a wine glass. She’s crafting her own vessel.

    • Rizzo
      February 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      The Ryan Adams cover of 1989? Because that’s what made me like the album! His version is amazing!

      • sarah
        February 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm

        Yes! So good.

    • Danielle
      February 17, 2016 at 2:20 am

      I’m a HUGE TSwift fan and even I think she needs to sit down sometimes when she’s being extra, but there’s no doubting that she isn’t a talented songwriter.

  15. Carol
    February 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    OMG. YAS. And TS’s “speech” wasn’t AMAZING nor INSPIRING. It was petty and passive aggressive, and honestly, a less childish person would have ignored the crazy that is Kanye all together – cause we all know he’s crazy, but she felt she needed to acknowledge hiding her passive aggressive message behind the whole, “To all the young girls out there” BS and every peed on themselves because OMG…the young girls!!! Girl, please. You tried.

  16. February 16, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Maurice White’s tribute was absolutely an afterthought and even with the last minute change, the producer’s could’ve done better. It would’ve been shit storm trying to make it happen, but still: totally could’ve done better. I was simultaneously delighted to hear Stevie sing and embarrassed that they ALL had to be involved in that arrangement, which was clearly pieced together with spit and duct tape. I’m unnaturally obsessed (due to the fact that I was born in 1979) with EWF, so I kinda took that shit personally.

    The Weekends 3 dread look has really got to be dealt with. I’m thinking he has no real friends, because who keeps telling him that his is cute?

    And THANK YOU for acknowledging what everybody else (including Tori Kelly, whose face during TS’s speech spoke my ENTIRE mind) was thinking: Clap, clap. Yes, yes, you’ve worked very hard – we get it. Now sit your regular Pat Bennetar-wannabe lookin ass down.

  17. Z
    February 16, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    HAMILTON EVERYTHING! I’ve listened to nothing else for the last month and the few times when I’ve had to hear any other music I’ve been mad at it for not being Hamilton! I suddenly have a huge crush on George Washington that wasn’t there in the 1110th grade even I was taking US History. In willing to do things for Hamilton tickets that I wouldn’t do for money. I didn’t watch a minute of the Grammy’s but the first thing I did this morning was find the performance clip and the acceptance speech. Blown away!

  18. my3rdact
    February 16, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I snoozed through most of the show. Kendrick woke me and the audience up! The visuals and delivery was all that and more.

    My disappoint was they treated some of the tributes like Black History Month – short and memorable. No Natalie tribute? I’m so gone….

  19. StephanieG
    February 16, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I thought the same thing about Taylor Swift, however, I bought some Groupon tix to the Grammy Museum in LA. They had/have a huge Taylor Swift Experience, including many of her tiny outfits, pictures, records etc.

    They have a movie theater setting where they show her on different awards shows and show ALL of the records that she’s broken!!!

    I must say as a 45-year-old I walked away with MAD respect for that young lady. She is about her business for sure!

  20. Tosha P
    February 17, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Whosoever in this whole wide world of ours dressed Stevie Wonder should be savagely beaten in the streets for all to see, just a shame “fo GOD”

  21. Tanis
    February 17, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Just a note about Stevie and the Pentatonix: It may have been Stevie’s choice to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pentatonix instead of standing ahead of them, or separate from them. As a blind person, (and getting on in age a bit too, no shade, just fact,) he may have felt safer and steadier feeling those bodies next to him, shoulder to shoulder, instead of standing solo alone on an unfamiliar stage.

    (I could be talking out my arse. I have no idea what Stevie Wonder thinks and feels, I’m just drawing from my own experience with blind family members.)

  22. Nef05
    February 17, 2016 at 10:38 am

    They also totally missed Cynthia Robinson, pioneering black female trumpeteer of Sly & the family Stone. She didn’t even rate the “in memorium” collage. Here is Freddie Stone’s comment on it:
    “Freddie Stone
    February 15 at 11:41pm ·
    I can’t understand why The GRAMMYs chose not to acknowledge the passing of my friend and band-mate, Cynthia Robinson. Not only is this the 50 year anniversary of the formation of Sly and the Family Stone, but Cynthia Robinson was a pioneer, being a Black female trumpet player in the first multicultural, dual gender group. She was an incredible musician and highly respected, earning a Pioneer Award and a permanent place in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Not to mention, she shared the Grammy stage with other artists in 2006. This is very disappointing that The ‪#‎Grammys‬ would overlook such an incredible talent and person.”

  23. Zach Morris
    February 17, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Yo! I wholeheartedly agree with how Stevie is constantly mistreated! He’s gotta stop doing tributes to other artists. Stee-bee is a LEGEND and deserves to be treated, as such. Immediately.
    PS – His outfits and hair do be outta line, but it’s Stevie, so I let it slide.
    PPS – “His” Instagram page – please plan accordingly for your own funeral: @itssteviewonder.

  24. Mary Burrell
    February 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    The Grammys were basically a snooze fest but Kendrick Lamar’s performance woke me up and I watched and was impressed with his artistry. I don’t even like HipHop. I do like “I” “I Love Myself ” that song makes me dance around my apartment. I hurt for my girl Adele, she sounded awful. That bothered me. I love Bruno Mars to pieces can’t get enough of him. Love Gaga but didn’t like that Bowie tribute. Happy for The Alabama Shakes good for Brittney.