Childish Gambino on Sunday took home Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Performance for his song on gun violence, This Is America. It was the first rap number to win Song of the Year. Donald Glover, who performs under the stage name Childish Gambino, did not attend the awards.

Lady Gaga also won three awards – Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Best Song written for Visual Media. Kacey Musgraves won Album of the Year for Golden Hour, over other artists including Janelle Monae, Drake, Cardi B, and the Black Panther soundtrack.

Other wins included Dua Lipa as Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album for Ariana Grande’s Sweetener, Best Rock Album for Greta Van Fleet’s From the Fires, Best R&B performance for H.E.R’s Best Part (H.E.R also won best R&B Album), and Best Rap Album to Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy.

Here is a list of all the Grammy Award winners.

But where’s Beyoncé?

A number of artists skipped the award show including Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar.

Drake made a rare appearance and won Best Rap Song for God’s Plan. During his acceptance speech, he seemed to allude to the Recording Academy’s controversial record with hip hop and coloured artists when he said, “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York or anybody else, or a brother from Houston right there, my brother Travis [Scott].”

He went on to say that one does not “need awards” and was then cut off mid-speech.

Drake was also one of multiple artists who had declined to perform at the awards. Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and later Ariana Grande also did not perform. Some of their decisions have been widely viewed as ongoing protests against the Grammys’ problems diversifying the awards.

Last year, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow had been widely criticised for saying that women needed to “step up” if they wanted better representation in the music industry. His comments had come after it was pointed out that only one woman artist had presented a solo Grammy award at the 2018 show.

The same year, the only woman to be nominated for Album of the Year, Lorde, reportedly turned down an offer to perform alongside others for a tribute instead of being given a solo performance slot.

On winning her Grammy on Sunday night, Dua Lipa made a reference to Portnow’s remarks, saying, “I guess this year we really stepped up.”

Michelle Obama stuns crowd with appearance

Former First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance at the Grammy Awards alongside Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith, and host Alicia Keys. “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in,” she said. “Music shows us that all of it matters – every story within every voice, every note within every song. Is that right ladies?”

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Best live performances

Though several big names such as Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande did not perform, the show still had to go on, and it certainly did. Some of the best live acts were Camilla Cabello’s extravagant Havana, Shawn Mendes and Miley Cyrus’ In My Blood and the performances of Cardi B, Diana Ross, and Dolly Parton.

Here are some pictures from the night:

Cardi B and Offset on stage to accept her award. Credit: AFP
Cardi B and Offset on stage to accept her award. Credit: AFP