10 Honest Questions on…The Grammys


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.

And finally….


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???!


31 Responses to “10 Honest Questions on…The Grammys”

  1. Jenna Marie Christian Says:

    Wasn’t that sow awful, but in my opinion it seems to get worse each year. The problem is i don’t know if it is due to bad production or just that the industry doesn’t recognize real music and talent like India Arie, Angie Stone, Eric Roberson, jill scott…etc

    I don’t know, but that was boring.

  2. Peanut Butter Says:

    Justin performed with Al to replace the missing Rihanna. I was late on Adele too. I heard the song before and liked it, but never knew who it was. The Grammy’s were almost always boring to me.

  3. Timothy Says:

    I dont think it was boring…it was pretty good to me considering most of the major artists of the past did not have new music out.

    The Grammys as a whole represents all music, pop, soul, neo-soul, rap, rock, country, jazz, folk, gospel, blues, and others all need to be represented in one show. Which makes it pretty tough.

    I am happy for their embracement of rap, even as I personally listen to less of it as I get older.

    For me the Grammys have exposed me to now 2 of my most respected groups, the foo fighters and the red hot chili peppers…and now this year im gonna take another look at Kid Rock and his country,gospel, rap, rock, blues album “rock and roll jesus”

  4. alexandra3465 Says:

    hahahaha. but have you ever actually listened to JM’s music? it’s TERRIBLE.
    p.s. does eminem count? i think his first self-produced album is all kinds of pretentious.

  5. Robyn Curry Says:

    The tail end of Lil Wayne’s performance when Terence Blanchard and other New Orleans big brass musicians came out and played up the aisle. Soooo classy; unexpected from Wayne.

  6. Aliya S. King Says:

    @jenna: Did any of those acts have albums released this year? I don’t think they did…
    @peanutbutter: i didn’t know JT replaced Rihanna. That changes things a bit. But not too much.
    @alexandra: I like a few of John Mayer’s songs. I think. Wait. I hate the Daughters song. Can’t stand the Body Is A Wonderland song. Shoot. I think the only John Mayer I actually like is the one about going to his high school reunion. I may have to rethink his status. Thank you alex.
    @timothy:you’re right. it’s tough to make it appeal to everyone. and I did discover new stuff. which is good.
    @Robyn: How could I forget the New Orleans musicians!! I LOVED that!! The pianist in the very beginning was awesome. and it gave me chills that they were getting their props like that. But I didn’t like the girls with the umbrellas.

  7. Robyn Curry Says:

    Lol — exactly. The girls with the umbrellas were quite unnecessary. (I think the pianist was Allen Toussaint.) All attention should’ve been on the musicians. Shucks, it’s an award show, not the super bowl. ; )

  8. Katura Says:

    In junior high, my friend Kim used to tape all the award shows and we’d watch our favorite performers over and over again. I especially remember the New Edition reunion on the MTV Awards (The one where Arsenio was hosting, I think) True, I’m not 12 anymore, but I still think these ceremonies have lost their shine. I watched a bit of the Grammys last night (had to turn it off with the Jonas Brothers “performed” with Stevie Wonder. That was just embarassing.) And I was excited about the Swagger Like Us song. I love it when I hear it on the radio. But I too was disappointed. Does Jay Z have arthritis or something, cause he sure was stiff.

  9. Timothy Says:

    Interesting…i really like the girls dancing with the umbrellas and felt they could have given them a little more camera time.

    I also was moved Jennifer Hudson, even though I didnt know the song.

  10. Robyn Curry Says:

    I forgot to add Aliya I so agree with you about Whitney. I was defending her all night to non-Illtowners. Granted, she did look high as a kite but (1) it’s a miracle she’s even alive and (2) she is 45 years old. Age and hard drugs, I imagine, puts your body on quite a spin cycle.
    She is OUR Whitney — God knows she needs our support.

  11. Robyn Curry Says:

    (Sorry — “put” not puts. I’m a grammar geek.)

  12. Aliya S. King Says:

    @robyn and katura: I actually liked the umbrella girls. I just think they needed more of them. I wanted to see like, twenty of them, and a man on stilts or something. to give it a real second line feel. I gotta look up Allen Toussaint. Thanks Robyn. and katura, Jay was beyond stiff. he was stuffed. did you see him with the dude from Coldplay. THAT was painful to watch. I wanted to give him some Doan’s backache pills.
    @Timothy: i don’t like when singers I love, (like J-hud), sing songs I don’t know.

  13. Keisha Says:

    Please get on board with Adele…..STAT!!! My sister told me about her a year ago and she’s great…FAB!!! Alas poor Whitney is still a little bit under the influence and that is a bonafide shame. M.I.A. had the potential to go into full blown labor and that definitely is “not sexy”.

    Am I the only one still emotional over the J Hud recaps?

  14. Robyn Curry Says:

    Adele’s album is great. I listen to it everyday at work. Also, check out Kate Nash. Kate is not as good of a singer as Amy or Adele but her lyrics are funny like Lily Allen.

    Jay Z. Instead of getting out early on top, like MJ during the Chicago years, he’s going into that embarrassing stage (MJ: The DC years when he looked and moved like a dump truck). Every “performance” of his lately has been so pitiful that cool points keep dropping off of him left and right. OUr modern day Ali after too many punches.

  15. Robyn Curry Says:

    True. Either a ton of dancers or none at all.

  16. Timothy Says:

    Jz wasnt that stiff…i mean he is 30something …i actually liked the Coldplay lead-in…it was refined and acoustic…im not sure how much moving would have been appropriate over only a snare and piano

  17. Aliya S. King Says:

    @timothy. is it up on youtube yet? Timothy, you have to look at it again. (or maybe I need to). I thought he looked insane!!
    @robyn: damn, girl! I don’t think Jay is that bad yet!! Our modern day Ali! Daaaaaamn! I do think he’s losing cool points, tho.
    @keisha: yes ma’am! I’m on it! re: adele. and I didn’t feel emotional about J-Hud. Don’t know why. I got choked up when she won her award and thanked her family in heaven but the performance? I was underwhelmed by the ballad. But I was in awe that she was strong enough to even BE there. Y’know?

  18. zuhirah Says:

    the grammy’s are always boring– that is why mtv and bet awards were invented.

    i loved swagger and think M.I.A. is brilliant. she always dresses crazy– that’s her stylo/… swagger. jay liked it enough to.. borrow it.

  19. la negrita Says:

    My fav performance was Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke. I love that song, and I’m currently obsessed with New Orleans culture and loved the pseudo second-line tribute. I didn’t like it when the girls dropped down and got their eagle on, but it would have been totally hot if the brass band had walked down the aisles playing and the audience members joined the procession in true second-line tradition.

  20. Hanif Says:

    I watched the show and i sort of skimmed through it, saw the swagger like us performance, they didn’t pull off the rat pack like they tried too. To their credit TI did have an interview where he said there busy schedules didn’t allow them time to rehearse anything. They all had albums out last year and are touring. Plus TI is getting raid for his Bid.

    I think Stevie is getting over used. I used to get excited to see Stevie featured in a performance with a new artist, but they do it every year on every award show. I don’t think anything shocks us anymore, even whitney showing up was blah…

    Maybe it’s because i’m getting older or just getting over it.

    As for discover new music, I have “Nigger” ears like Chris rock on “I think I love my wife” maybe it’s time for me to diversify.

  21. Aliya S. King Says:

    @zuhirah, you’re so right. The BET Awards are my current fave.
    @la negrita: yes! they needed a real second line up in that piece! nice attempt, tho
    @hanif: It’s true. They totally overuse Stevie. It used to be special. No more. Comes off very gimmicky.

  22. Kennedy Nicole Says:

    Let’s see here….I can speak about a few things from personal experience. (1) I am from Memphis, so it’s kinda this mandatory thing that JT links himself to “soul” because he’s from here. We are the same age and I don’t recall ever being spoon-fed Memphis soul growing up here. I think the soul boy thing is a bit embellished, although you can definitely tell he’s from the M-Town.

    They needed better writers, too. His jokes were super-wack.


    I thought the second line was appropriate. I went to school 45 minutes away from New Orleans. I think it was a great tribute to their culture.

    MIA should have been MIA and at the hospital dropping that load. TERRIBLE!!

  23. Carthell Says:

    Hmm… Let me weigh in on this one…I think if the “Rap” Pack would have played to their own individual swagger, it would have come off a lot better.and who thaought it was so necessary for MIA to sing her hook live..Nobody was thinking…I can’t wait to see MIA sing the hook!..lol

  24. jay1 Says:

    the grammys were super boring, i seriously had to flip a coin to figure out whether or not i would watch the grammys or if i would watch Teen Wolf on ABC Family, seriously.

    Also, M.I.A looked hot to me but i’m a sicko like that.

  25. Anita Says:

    I heard about the Mia outfit, but I actually hadn’t seen it until now. There are no words.

    Adele–I told you. Now just listen to it over and over until you can get past her accent to the actual words. LOL, when I told you about her, you said “My daughter loves American Boy.” And I just decided to let that go.

    Whitney–was she high or drunk? If high (which I suspect) can’t she just get high AFTER the show, or after she goes back to her seat and the cameras won’t be on her? And yeah she did hijack stage time to shout-out Clive.

    Chris Brown–I hope he didn’t do it. Not that I care specifically about him, just black folks in the media in general.

    Swagger Like Us – I actually didn’t see that performance. I guess I didn’t miss anything.

    Lastly–snore. Grammies were boring.

  26. Anita Says:

    Oh and by the way, I really like T.I., but I actually don’t like Paper Trail that much. Maybe I need to just play it on repeat for a day?

  27. Elise Says:

    i freakin’ LOOOOOOOVE all of your observations! love thsi blog. Thansk for continuing to make me laugh!

  28. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Kennedy: I thought I was the only one that noticed that JT’s joke about the general store fell very flat. awkward!
    @carthell: I actually did want to see MIA once I heard she was performing on her due date. it’s a spectacle. We love a spectacle!
    @jay1: Teen Wolf. Really. Ouch.
    @Anita: in my defense, when you first recommended Adele, you said, if you liked Estelle, you will like her. And THEN I said, my little girl loves American Boy. I knew they were different artist. Stop trying to play me out yo.
    @elise: I’m just doing my job. =)

  29. Anita Says:

    Nah homie…I said, ‘Q: Do You Like Adele?’ It was a stand-alone question. I won’t type here what you replied because its really incriminating. I would never try to play you, ha…but you know I’m good on the gmail archive…never question my records! Now go buy 19. And when you get good and in love with that, I’ll send you MickBoogie’s remix: 1988.

  30. Aliya S. King Says:

    @anita: okay, okay! I’ll take your word for it!

  31. The Week In Review: February 14th 2009 « Aliya S. King Says:

    […] started off chatting about The Grammy Awards. The best part about blogging is having a community. And we all pretty much agreed that the awards […]

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