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From reggaeton to Iran, four key moments on Grammys night

by Editorial Team
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Music’s biggest stars turned out in force at the Grammys yesterday (Sunday, February 5) in Los Angeles – and a LOT happened.

Beyonce made history, but lost the night’s biggest prize to Harry Styles. Bad Bunny opened the show with some serious reggaeton and First Lady Jill Biden showed up to honour an Iranian artist.

Here are four key moments from Grammys night:

Bad Bunny, world’s biggest artiste

Bad Bunny, music’s most streamed artiste, exploded into the Arena to open the night, performing a medley of hits off his blockbuster album Un Verano Sin Ti.

Host Trevor Noah greeted him in Spanish as the Puerto Rican trailblazer introduced himself simply by his first name, Benito. The room then erupted in colour and rhythm as the audience was immersed in Latin sounds including bachata, merengue and mambo.

“I want to know if the Grammys are ready for the real party,” exclaimed the 29-year-old who has fast become the face of reggaeton, the genre he has globalised.

Donning a white tee shirt and jeans, Bad Bunny left no one unmoved, with even Taylor Swift launching into a few dance steps.

“Now everyone wants to be Latino,” he quipped. “But they’re lacking flavour.”

Bad Bunny went on to win the Grammy for Best Musica Urbana Album.

Fifty years of hip-hop

In probably the most electric moment of the night, a parade of stars from the world of hip-hop – from Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC to Method Man, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot and LL Cool J – got the audience up on their feet to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of the genre, seen as born in the Bronx in 1973.

The rapid-fire medley of hits across the decades – Nelly offered a few bars of Hot in Herre, Lil Uzi Vert closed the tribute with a bit of his Just Wanna Rock – had Jay-Z cheering from his seat.

The Recording Academy has long been criticised for failing to honour hip-hop artistes in the main Grammy categories, and for being behind the times in terms of acknowledging hip-hop’s overall influence in music. The all-star performance certainly went some distance in putting the genre front and centre, at last.

Touching in memoriam

The Grammys annual tribute to those the music industry has lost was even more emotional than usual, with Quavo of the hip-hop act Migos honoring his nephew Takeoff, who was murdered late last year in a shooting at the age of 28.

“Days ain’t the same without you / I don’t know if I’m the same without you,” sang Quavo. “I wish I had a time machine / Just so you can take a ride with me / I miss just how you smile at me / Unc and Phew until infinity.”

Kacey Musgraves opened the set paying homage to Loretta Lynn, the iconic country singer who died at 90, by covering Lynn’s iconic “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

And Mick Fleetwood was joined by Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow in a touching performance of Songbird by Christine McVie, the late Fleetwood Mac artist who penned many of the beloved band’s most famous songs.

Special award for Iranian song

In the night’s most political moment, First Lady Jill Biden came to Los Angeles to present a special Grammy for Best Song for Social Change.

That award went to 25-year-old Iranian pop singer Shervin Hajipour for his Baraye – an anthem for the protests that have rocked Iran since the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd arrested for an alleged breach of strict dress rules for women.

Hajipour was detained after his song went viral and later freed on bail. He is not allowed to leave Iran.

Biden called Baraye, a “powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights.”

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