California State University East Bay

Bay Area artist dissed at Grammys

February 12, 2015

BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

The 57th Annual Grammy Award ceremony was underwhelmed with flashes of coolness. Among the cool moments were Madonna’s performance of her newest single, “Living for Love,” Annie Lennox joining the stage with Hozier to sing “I Put A Spell On You,” Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet’s “Cheek to Cheek” and actress Kristin Wiig’s interpretive dance debut during Sia’s performance of “Chandelier.”

For every high there is a low and this year there were two memorable low moments during the evening. The first being Kanye West’s overreaction to Beck winning album of the year for his album “Morning Phase.” Kanye approached the stage similar to his stage crash of Taylor Swift during the 2009 Video Music Awards where she also won in a top tier category against Beyonce. Instead of taking the microphone again, he turned around and went back to his seat while spectators laughed at what they thought was a running joke.

Later that evening Kanye began his usual rants; this time about how Beck needs to respect artistry and should give his award to Beyonce. He went on to say that the Grammys diminish artists and slap them in the face when they give awards to people who are undeserving.

What Kanye needs to understand is that just because he doesn’t listen to Beck doesn’t mean that Beck isn’t an artist. Beyonce is an entertainer but I wouldn’t consider someone who needs four other people to help her write one song an artist.

I would however consider someone who has released 12 studio albums, published his 2012 album, “Song Reader,” as a book of sheet music and art, writes all his own songs and plays over 12 instruments an artist.

The second low moment of the evening included Queen B herself, Beyonce. Grammy producers decided to have Common and John Legend perform their Oscar nominated, politically charged song “Glory” from the movie “Selma.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think Beyonce is a very talented singer. She has 19 Grammy Awards numerous other recognitions. Personally, I would’ve loved to see her perform one of the songs off of her latest album.

But I think it was unfortunate that Ledisi was snubbed out of performing and being a part of the “Selma” tribute especially given that she sang “Precious Lord” on the soundtrack as well as in the film playing the role of Mahalia Jackson.

Common and John Legend said that Beyonce sang because she asked to open for them. Of course she did. Seeing as though it is Black History Month and “Selma,” despite Oscar recognition, proved to be an amazing film it’s only right that Beyonce would want to soak up some of that socially conscious attention instead of dropping it like she does on every other award show.

The reason being, “You don’t say no to Beyonce when she asks to perform with you,” is what’s tripping me, and numerous others up.

Instead of saying no to Beyonce, one would rather push Ledisi to the side denying her moment for the song she did in the film? That’s not right. How does that make Ledisi feel? She was good enough for film but not for the Grammys?

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ledisi was asked why she wasn’t asked to sing the song since she’s present at the award ceremony to which she replied, “I don’t have a clue.”

She continued to say, “What I will say and what I’m excited about is that I had the pleasure of playing an iconic figure in Selma, and the song, ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord,’ it’s been going on forever – starting with the queen Mahalia [Jackson], the queen of soul Aretha Franklin, then, I was able to portray and sing my version of the song, and now we have Beyonce. Her generation will now know the song, so I’m a part of history.”

Kudos to Ledisi for staying positive and continuing to represent the East Bay with class and dignity.

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