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“I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. It’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word” – the most affecting moments from the 2020 Grammys

From Tyler The Creator comparing the word 'urban' as a category to the 'N-word', to Angélique Kidjo dedicating her award to Nigerian singer Burna Boy, and the soul-stirring tribute to basketball player Kobe Bryant, the 2020 Grammys will go down in history as one of the most affecting in history. Here are some of the moments that stoot out for us!

The Grammys often takes a lot of flak for stereotyping or rather, compartmentalising black artists (and non-white artists) by segregating them from the main ceremony and painting them with the same ‘rap’ or ‘urban’ brush.

  • Tyler The Creator ‘half-half’about her Grammy win


Addressing the media at the Grammys, Tyler The Creator was absolutely spot on when asked about how the ‘new’ Grammy voting processes, which has been making headlines in recent days, has affected how he looks at winning the “Best Rap Album” award.


“I’m half and half about it. On the one side, I’m greatful that what I make can be acknowledged in the world like this. But also it sucks that whenever we…I mean guys that look like me make anything that is genre bending…they put us in the rap or urban category, and I don’t like that urban word.

“It’s just a politically correct way to say the ‘N-word’ to me…and when I hear that I’m like ‘why can’t we just be in pop,” he said adding:

“So half of me feels like the rap nomination was a back-handed compliment like ‘oh my little cousin wants to play the game, and like oh let’s give him the unplugged controller so he could shut up and feel good about it’. That’s how it felt like a bit. But another half of me is very greatful that the art that I make could be acknowledged on a level like this.”

  • Angélique Kidjo’s Grammy acceptance speech

The wealth of new talent coming from the African continent is worth taking note of, that was the message in a nutshell from one of Africa’s most celebrated musicians, Angélique Kidjo’s Grammy acceptance speech.

When called on stage to accept her fourth Grammy gong for ‘Best World Music’ for her latest album, “Celia“, which pays homage to the late Afro-Cuban legend Celia Cruz, the Benin-born Brooklyn-based musician used the moment to honour fellow artist, Burna Boy, who was also vying for the same award.

“The new generation of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm and the time has come,” she remarked adding.

Angélique Kidjo’s accepting Grammy award

“This is for Burna Boy, [he] is among those young artists [who] came from Africa [who] are changing the way our continent is perceived, and the way African music has been the bed rock for every [type] of music.” 

  • Heartfelt tribute to basketball player Kobe Bryant

The 2020 Grammys ceremony opened with a heartfelt tribute to basketball player Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. 

“Tonight is for you Kobe,” pop star Lizzo, the night’s most-nominated artist, said before launching into the ballad, “Cuz I Love You”, which include the words ‘I’m crying ‘cuz I love you’.

The visibly shaken Alicia Keys, the evening’s host, followed suit with a heartfelt speech, saying: “To be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now, because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero.”

She was joined by Boyz II Men for a soul-stirring capella performance of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”.

Alicia Keys joined by Boys II Men performing “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”

The news of the star’s death at the age of 41 stunned the rest of the world, including SA-born comedian Trevor Noah spoke.

Speaking with E!’s Ryan Seacrest on the 2020 Grammy Awards red carpet about the former NBA star’s death, the Daily Show host said: 

“I don’t think I’ve processed anything yet, and I don’t think anyone has, you know? It’s very strange when you feel like you know somebody because of all these moments and the impact they’ve had on your life.”

The 35-year old, who was vying for the best comedy album added: “And I think that’s what a lot of people are going through with the news about Kobe Bryant and his daughter and the other people who are involved in the crash.”

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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