I told TH to pick up some ice cream on the way home last night. I turned on the television promptly at 8, even though I couldn’t start watching right away. Wanted to make sure I’d be able to rewind. I got my Sunday chores out of the way. Then settled down with TG and TH in the living room, ready to indulge in some Grammy night celebudrama.
And my first question was…
1. Why is Chris Brown an idiot?
I wish I had been blogging when Chris Brown first came out. Because then I’d have proof that I called this one a long time ago. I remember telling TH years ago that Chris looked like the type of kid who liked to fight. As his star began to shine brighter, I would shake my head slowly when I saw him on television. I just knew. I could tell by looking at him that he was headed for some trouble. We all know some kids just have that look.
And sure enough, the biggest question of the night wasn’t about who was there. But who wasn’t there. Chris Brown, (allegedly), popped Rhianna the night before the Grammys, leaving visible bruises. They both ended up missing the show.
Two words: Not Good.
Could this end Chris’ career? I feel like it could. Hitting a woman is so hard to defend. And he’s a crooner. Not a rapper. Less room for gangster posturing.
Then again, if R. Kelly can still tour, record and step out of the house without being pelted with rotten eggs, anything can happen.
2. Does Whitney know that crack is still whack?
Before I even go there, let me state some facts. I am from East Orange, New Jersey, Whitney Houston’s hometown. I love her. I think that in her prime, her voice was unmatched by her contemporaries. I can’t think of any vocalist out right now who can touch Whitney Houston’s pipes, circa 1988. Her body of work is impeccable (though yes, a little white bread), and I can listen to her sing The Star Spangled Banner on a daily basis. My nephew attends a school in East Orange named for Ms. Houston. And we take our Whitney-love very seriously in Jersey. If you go too hard on my girl Whitney in the comments, I will hurt you. Only I can talk about her.
So. I couldn’t help but thinking something was a bit off as she presented an award last night. Her teeth seemed too big for her mouth. And was she slurring? The wig was way too big. And who told her that she could give an extended shout-out to Clive Davis while she was in the middle of presenting an award?
And I wonder if she realizes that she got a standing ovation just for not looking like a crackhead? That would have depressed me.
3. Why am I so late on discovering Adele?
My girl Anita always puts me up on new music. Our tastes are almost identical. So if she says something’s hot, it is. (A few years ago, she emailed me a link to a chick named Amy Winehouse). Well, she emailed me about a chick named Adele and I kept saying I would check it out and never got around to it. Meanwhile, this Lifetime movie with Heather Locklear was being advertised on the radio. And I kept hearing a tiny bit of this awesome song on the commercial for the movie. A rich, husky voice was singing, should I give up/or should I just keep chasing something something. I kept meaning to Google those lyrics and figure out who was singing that song. Never got around to it. I found out last night. It’s British singer Adele. And the song, which I’d never heard in its entirety until last night, is Chasing Pavements. She’s dope. I’m so late.
4. Are we allowed to talk about Stevie Wonder?
Stevie’s a legend. His albums, (at least up until 1987’s Characters), are pure, unadulterated genius. And I still haven’t had the honor of interviewing Mr. Wonder. And I don’t want this blog to ruin my chances. But some things do need to be discussed. So let’s pretend this is my living room. And we, dear readers, are all sitting on my couch, watching Stevie Wonder and The Jonas Brothers, who performed together last night. TG is sitting next to us. TheHusband is there too.
Me: So, is he ever going to cut the dreads? Or is he going to just let them keep falling out one by one?
TH: He’s huge.
Me: Yeah. He is big.
TheHusband: He looks like a loveseat.
Me: No you didn’t just say that. I don’t think you can say that about Stevie Wonder.
TheHusband: I can if it’s true.
Me: But I’m gonna post this tomorrow on my blog!
TheHusband: I don’t care where you post it. He looks like a couch up there. Sounds great though.
5. Do fans of country western music fast-forward through all the rap and R&B performances?
In my house last night, whenever we saw a black cowboy hat, a stool and an acoustic guitar, we started reaching for the remote. (The show was live. But I didn’t start watching it until ten. So I was able to fast forward). We sped right past Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. I did watch a bit of Miley Cyrus, (is that country music?) I wonder how that works in other households. Do people say: Oh, it’s Kanye West, where’s the remote?
6. Could Jay-Z and company have had any less swagger?
I was so disappointed by the Swagger Like Us performance with Jay, Kanye, Lil Wayne and T.I. Rappers have always had a live performance problem. They don’t choreograph. They don’t dance. Their art is reciting words over music. Which doesn’t lend itself to doing much more than standing around during your performance. Kanye tries to put on a show on his own. But the ensemble thing was not working last night. It fell very flat. And we will not discuss MIA’s polka dot ensemble. I have no questions about that. It was a travesty. Case closed.
7. Who told Justin Timberlake that we like him?
He was everywhere last night. Especially anywhere near some Black folks. He was presenting awards, singing a duet with Al Green, (while Boyz II Men sang backup?!), and then performing with T.I. Something irks me about JT. Is it the Janet thing? And how he left her for dead on the side of the road after the Superbowl debacle? Yes. But it started before that. I’m just not buying his pseudo-soul shtick. Though I can’t front, he does make good music. TheHusband and I have decided that our Pretentious White Boy Who Loves To Be Around Black People singer of choice is now John Mayer. We want Justin to go away. (FYI, Robin Thicke doesn’t go in this category. He’s un-apologetically white. And unpretentious).
8. Is it true that if you perform, you automatically win?
My little sister has been saying this since the 80s. When she was like, seven, she would say: If you perform right before your category is announced, you win. I used to always tell her that it was just a coincidence when that happened. But now I’m not so sure. It does seem to happen a lot. Think about how many times you’ve seen them announce the nominees for a category. They pan to the nominees in the audience. Then they cut to that one nominee who is all sweaty and breathless, standing in the wings. Seems like they always win, right? That was Lil Wayne last night, winning for best Rap Album. (T. I’s face was tight. Did he think he really had a chance?)
9. Who are Alison Krauss and Robert Plant and why did they win so many awards?
Okay, I do know who they are. Alison Krauss is a bluegrass musician and Robert Plant is from Led Zeppelin. But I’d never heard of their album, Raising Sand, before last night. And I definitely didn’t hear about them being favored to win big. Even Entertainment Weekly predicted that Coldplay would sweep all the big awards. Krauss and Plant’s win for Album Of The Year reminds me of Herbie Hancock’s win last year for Album of The Year for his album River: The Joni Letters. He won over Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, The Foo Fighters and Vince Gill. A head scratcher, for sure. And another head scratcher this year.
10. Is it just me? Or were the Grammys boring?
When I was young, an awards show was an event. You planned your day around it. You gathered with snacks and family. You taped it to dissect each performance later. I don’t feel this way anymore. Nothing particularly stood out to me. (Except Radiohead’s performance. Another group I’m determined to get acquainted with after seeing them last night). I think it’s the age we live in. I can YouTube any artist whenever I want. I can see them walking down the street in paparazzi shots. We’re so familiar with our celebrities that awards shows just aren’t as special anymore. I was more excited about hanging out with my family and discovering Breyer’s Cookies and Cream (with Oreos!!) than I was about seeing any of my favorite acts.
Dear readers, what was your favorite Grammy moment? Did you even watch? Do you agree that watching an awards show doesn’t hold the same allure it did years ago? Did you discover any new acts that you like? Did you understand what MIA was wearing? Whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you…
P.S. A bonus question. What was this? WHAT WAS THIS???!