(CNN) Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won Grammys for song and record of the year on Sunday, becoming the first rap song to win the prestigious awards.The artist — also known as the mutitalented Donald Glover — did not attend the event and reportedly declined an invitation to perform at the Grammys.”This Is America” beat out “Shallow,” “God’s Plan” and other big hits. The Grammy for song of the year honors song writers, while record of the year goes to the recording artist.
The song caused a stir last May when Gambino released its ambitious video, which was full of racial symbolism.Related: ‘This Is America’: The Childish Gambino video explainedThe Recording Academy has made an effort to diversify its membership amid complaints the Grammys have frequently failed to recognize rap and hip-hop artists in the major categories.Earlier this week in an interview with the New York Times, longtime Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich acknowledged, “We continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world.”It’s unclear if Childish Gambino’s wins on Sunday change that.
The rap stars Kendrick Lamar and Drake lead the list of nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards
announced Friday, but right behind them is a crop of young and less
heralded artists, notably women, after years of friction about
diversity, including a major dust-up over gender representation after
the last ceremony.
The Instagram star turned rapper Cardi B, the folk singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, the left-of-center country singer Kacey Musgraves, and the R&B artists H.E.R.
and Janelle Monáe are among the women who will compete for album of the
year against some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Lamar received eight
nominations — including his fourth for album of the year — for his role
as executive producer of the soundtrack to Marvel’s “Black Panther,” and Drake was nominated seven times in connection with his blockbuster double album “Scorpion”
and guest appearances. Rounding out the category is “Beerbongs &
Bentleys” by the 23-year-old rapper and singer Post Malone.
each of the big four general field categories — record of the year,
song of the year, album of the year and best new artist — is dominated
by women, including six out of eight acts up for best new artist: Chloe x
Halle, H.E.R., Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith. (The
others are the country singer Luke Combs and the retro-rock band Greta Van Fleet.)
Neil Portnow, the president and chief executive of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammys, said in a statement that “reflection, re-evaluation and implementation” were the “driving forces” behind recent changes to the show’s processes, and therefore its nominations. Portnow, who will step down in 2019, drew ire from prominent women in music, some of whom called for his resignation, after the 60th annual Grammy ceremony in January, when he told reporters backstage that women in music needed to “step up” if they wanted recognition in the industry. Amid the backdrop of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against harassment and professional inequality, only one woman, Alessia Cara, won a major award in one of the televised categories this year and Lorde, the only female nominee for album of the year, was not offered a solo performance slot. A report published before the show found that of the 899 people nominated in the last six Grammy Awards, just 9 percent were women. (Portnow later said he regretted his wording, and that his comments had been taken out of context.)