Then the 2016 Grammy Awards happened.
Introduced by Don Cheadle, who will star as the legendary Miles Davis in an upcoming biopic, Kendrick Lamar dialed up the pride a million notches. The juxtaposition of the Grammy winner being shackled in handcuffs, while a saxophonist played behind bars, was so far from the usual stage props and antics that we are so accustomed to seeing on an awards show stage. Every note, every bar had meaning and were chill inducing, whether you stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, or you don’t quite understand it. Whatever side you take, you couldn’t ignore it. Kendrick has a way with awareness of the present and the past that’s enough for Black folks of all generations to throw up a fist with pride. Unapologetic and proud, K. dot’s performance outro bled with furious delivery: “Twenty twelve mistakes for the world to see/ Sent us back another 400 years/ This is modern day slavery…”
As some shifted in their seats, the rest of the Grammy audience was up on their feet with a stirring ovation. The levels of Black pride reached decibels on Twitter.
Some kid, somewhere, is forever changed. When your favorite rapper looks like you, and reps you, and fights for you, the way N.W.A did in the ’90s, it sticks with you.
Growing up in New York City, my first experience with Manhattan centered around Broadway. And my show of choice as a teenager was Rent. A diverse cast with a theme song by Stevie Wonder, and a lead actress with brown skin and wild curls made me feel like Broadway could be for this nerdy awkward brown girl. Even though I enjoyed the ballet and theater despite the cast dynamic, I could always return to Rent to see me.
Fast forward 20 years after Rent‘s first opening in 1996, and we have Hamilton. Following Kendrick’s performance, I didn’t think the proud mama swelling in my heart could grow any larger. But as Hamilton star and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted his speech in rap form, I couldn’t help but yell at my TV screen when he went off: “This frantic Hispanic is non-stop.”
After accepting the Grammy, Miranda, who’s almost on his way to an EGOT, waved the Puerto Rican flag on the Broadway stage along with his cast.
Broadway is not usually the place where Black Puerto Ricans can see themselves shine, nor is the Grammy stage a place where the essence of Blackness and “stop killing us” sentiments are readily accepted. But tonight, back to back, we’re on display, and our genius is completely impossible to ignore. To see both of my cultures displayed on CBS of all places, applauded for brilliant art, is something awe-inspiring.
I love us.
SOURCE: Genius | PHOTO: Getty
RED CARPET RECAP: The 58th Annual Grammy Awards
1. Wiz wore Chucks to the Grammys because, of course he would.Source:Getty 1 of 24
2. Sam Smith suited up!Source:Getty 2 of 24
3. Pharrell with his wife, Helen. Are you feeling his platinum blonde 'do?Source:Getty 3 of 24
4. Lady Gaga's David Bowie-inspired ensemble.Source:Getty 4 of 24
5. Janelle Monae in Jean Paul Gaultier.Source:Getty 5 of 24
6. Kendrick Lamar just won the first award of the night.Source:Getty 6 of 24
7. Justin Bieber walked the red carpet with his little brother.Source:Getty 7 of 24
8. How cute.Source:Getty 8 of 24
9. Fetty Wap cleans up nicely.Source:Getty 9 of 24
10. Chrissy Teigen definitely has the glow!Source:Getty 10 of 24
11. Ariana Grande in Romona Keveza.Source:Getty 11 of 24
12. Ciara and Russell Wilson are all smiles.Source:Getty 12 of 24
13. SLAY.Source:Getty 13 of 24
14. Tori Kelly rocking green.Source:Getty 14 of 24
15. Looking suave, Big Sean.Source:Getty 15 of 24
16. We can't wait for Adele's performance tonight.Source:Getty 16 of 24
17. We're here for this couple! The Weeknd and Bella HadidSource:Getty 17 of 24
18. Faith Evans in classic black and white.Source:Getty 18 of 24
19. Are you feeling Zendaya's mullet?Source:Getty 19 of 24
20. Hello, Taylor!Source:Getty 20 of 24
21. Bestie goals?Source:Getty 21 of 24
22. Serving! We see you, Selena.Source:Getty 22 of 24
23. Giuliana Rancic glowing in gold.Source:Getty 23 of 24
24. Vanessa Simmons looks GORGEOUS.Source:Getty 24 of 24
Black And Proud, Boricua Soy: Kendrick Lamar and ‘Hamilton’ Fire Up Pride At 2016 Grammy Awards was originally published on globalgrind.com