L-R: Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Bruno Mars

Vanessa Obioha

The 60th Grammy Awards holding tonight at the Madison Square Garden, New York for the first time in 15 years will have its #MeToo moment too.

Push to raise sexual misconduct awareness at the music ceremony kicked off last week when key executives in the music industry sent an email urging people to wear a white rose at the show. The act is to express solidarity to the Time’s Up movement- a coalition created by over 300 members of the entertainment business, including Hollywood elites Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes to combat harassment in the workplace across all industries. They made a statement at the Golden Globes Award by wearing black and a Time’s Up pin.

Time’s Up is not only trying to raise awareness about sexual harassment but also money for a legal defense fund for people in all industries battling sexual misconduct. Over $15 million has already been raised.

Unlike Hollywood, the music industry recorded low sexual misconduct cases. Music mogul Russell Simmons is the only personality with the highest number of sexual allegations, although he denied all.

James Corden who is returning the second time as Grammys host, Halsey, Dua Lipa, and rapper Rapsody, including co-chairs at Atlantic Records, Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman are among those who will be wearing white roses tonight. Corden also confirmed to the Associated Press that there will definitely be a #MeToo moment at the ceremony.

Executive producer of the Grammys Ken Ehrlich however left much of the decision to the artists. “We’re aware of it and we’re certainly supportive of the movement, but the reality is we’re more concerned with allowing artists that we work with to express themselves and have artistic freedom. If, in fact, that’s part of that, then that’s something we support.”

The decision to wear a white rose according to the mail sent out was because “white rose historically stands for hope, peace, sympathy and resistance.”

Beyond the night’s anti-harassment movement, there’s a great possibility that history will be made at this year’s awards. For the first time in a long while, minorities dominate the Big 4 categories: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artiste. Only Alessia Cara (Best New Artiste, Song of the Year), Lorde (Album of the Year), Julia Michaels (Best New Artiste, Song of the Year) are the non-blacks in these categories.

Interestingly, neither a rap song nor a Spanish-language composition has ever won a song or record-of-the-year trophy in the awards’ modern history. Perhaps, Despacito or one of the strong hip-hop nominees in those categories may emerge a winner.
With two rap heavyweights Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar contending in the Big 4, expectations are running wild on which of them will take home the trophy. Jay-Z fetched the most nominations at this year’s award with eight nods. He is closely followed by Kendrick Lamar who has a streak of losing his big wins to artistes like Macklemore and Taylor Swift. Lamar clinched seven nominations. Another contender who is a Grammy favourite and likely to steal the spotlight is Bruno Mars who has five nominations.

It will be interesting to see any of the newcomers particularly the youngest nominee in this edition, 19-year-old Khalid win in any of the Big 4 categories. Also with five nods, he is contending in the Best New Artiste and Song of The Year categories.
Selected from more than 22,000 submissions across 84 categories, the nominations showcase some of the most gifted music makers of the past awards year (Oct. 1, 2016–Sept. 30, 2017).

An eclectic all-star lineup of artists, musicians, actors, and comedians will take the stage as presenters at the ceremony. This year’s presenters include 18-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett, current Grammy nominee Dave Chappelle, three-time Grammy winner and current nominee Kelly Clarkson, professional football player Victor Cruz, Eve, actress Katie Holmes, actress Anna Kendrick, 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys, 10-time Grammy winner John Legend, actor Shemar Moore, comedian and television host Trevor Noah, current Grammy nominee Sarah Silverman, actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld, and Grammy nominee Donnie Wahlberg.
Performers include Jon Batiste, Brothers Osborne, Alessia Cara, Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Miley Cyrus, Daddy
Yankee, DJ Khaled, Luis Fonsi, Elton John, Kesha, Khalid, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Little Big Town, Logic, Patti LuPone, Bruno Mars, P!nk, Ben Platt, Rihanna, Sam Smith, Chris Stapleton, Sting, SZA, and U2.