Singer/songwriter H.E.R.’s protest anthem “I Can’t Breathe” won the Grammy Sunday evening for song of the year, while Megan Thee Stallion collected three early honors during a socially distanced ceremony originating from downtown Los Angeles.
The song of the year award, which recognizes songwriters, went to H.E.R., Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas.
“We wrote this song over Facetime, and I didn’t imagine that my fear and that my pain would turn into impact and it would possibly turn into change,” H.E.R. said about the song written in response to national outrage over police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “And I think that’s what this is about. And that’s why I write music. That’s why I do this. I’m so, so, so grateful.
“I want to thank God for giving me the gift of a voice and a pen and using me as a vessel to create change,” she said. “I want to thank my mom. I recorded this song myself in my bedroom at my mom’s house. And I want to thank my dad. He cried. He was in tears when I wrote this song and I played it for him, he was the first person I played it for.
“… We are the change that we wish to see. That fight that we had in us the summer of 2020, keep that same energy.”
Meanwhile, Megan Thee Stallion was named best new artist — the first time the honor has gone to a rapper in two decades — while her “Savage” collaboration with Beyoncé collected wins for best rap performance and best rap song.
She fought back tears as she accepted the best new artist honor.
“I don’t want to cry, but first of all, I want to say everybody is amazing, every artist that was nominated for this award is so amazing, so shout out to all of y’all,” she said.
She thanked her team and supporters for “sticking by me through my craziness,” noting, “it’s been a hell of a year, but we made it.” She concluded by paying tribute to her mother, Holly Thomas, who died in 2019.
“I really want to say thank you to my momma,” she said. “She’s not here with me today, but I know she’s with me in spirit, and she always believed I could do it.”
She returned to the stage with Beyoncé later in the show to accept the award for best rap song for “Savage,” written in part by Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
“Music really helped a lot of us get through the pandemic so like i said shout out to everybody who’s in here today because a lot of these songs really pushed us all through,” Megan said. “I definitely want to say thank you to Beyoncé. If you know me, you have to know that ever since I was little, I was like, `You know what, one day I’m gonna grow up and gonna be like the rap Beyoncé.’ That was definitely my goal.”
Beyoncé hailed her partner, saying, I’m honored that you asked me to be part of this song.”
The win tied Beyoncé for the Grammy record for most wins by a female artist, and for any singer male or female.
Earlier in the night, Beyoncé shared a Grammy win with her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, who collected her first Grammy at the tender age of 9. Blue Ivy was among the winners — along with her mom and WizKid — for best music video for “Brown Skin Girl.” Blue Ivy is now the second-youngest person to ever win a Grammy, behind Leah Peasall, who was 8 when she won an award with her two sister for their contribution to the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack.
Miranda Lambert won the Grammy for best country album for “Wildcard,” and she hailed the women-dominated category that also included Ingrid Andress, Brandy Clark, Ashley McBryde and Little Big Town.
“We’re such a family in country music, so I feel like holding this right now I’m holding this for all of us, especially us girls,” she said.
And in a message to country music fans, she added, “I miss the hell out of you all and I can’t wait to get back out with the fans. I love you so much, thank you.”
It was Lambert’s second career Grammy win for best country album. She also took home the honor in 2015 for “Platinum.”
Harry Styles won his first career Grammy for best pop solo performance for “Watermelon Sugar.”
“Wow, Sunday everyone who made this record with me, thank you so much,” he said. “This was the fist song we wrote after my first album came out, during a day off in Nashville. … I feel very grateful to be here, thank you.”
Dua Lipa won for best pop vocal album for “Future Nostalgia.”
“`Future Nostalgia’ means the absolute world to me and it has changed my life in so many ways,” she said. “But one thing that I’ve really come to realize is how much happiness is so important. I felt really jaded at the end of my last album where I felt I only had to make sad music to feel like it mattered, And I’m just so grateful and so honored because happiness is something that we all deserve and need in our lives.’
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards were held in a socially distanced manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ceremony moved out of its traditional home at Staples Center. The event instead originated from a tented stage at L.A. Live, with Staples Center looming in the background.
Nominees for each category were seated in the tent at spaced-out tables. Performances during the three-hour-plus ceremony were done in an adjoining performing space.
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