Artists shone during the Grammy awards on Sunday but there was a sad undertone to the ceremony with news of the tragic death earlier in the day of basketball star Kobe Bryant.
The ceremony was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Byrant once led the LA Lakers to multiple championships, but many people gathered near the venue to mourn. Flags were flown at half-mast.
Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter accident in California. Nine people perished, including his daughter Gianna, 13. She was the second of four daughters Bryant had with his wife Vanessa, 37.
At the Grammys, there were performances by Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X and tributes to Aerosmith and late rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Beyonce won a prize for best music film for Homecoming, while Lady Gaga snagged two awards for the movie A Star Is Born’s original soundtrack.
Steve Pamon, a Homecoming director, mentioned in his acceptance speech to Bryant to rest in peace and that they loved him.
Lil Nas X was nominated for six awards and he won a Grammy for his Old Town Road music video.
The first award of the night went to Eilish’s debut studio album in the engineering categories.
However, backstage scandal threatens to tarnish the glitz at the Grammys.
CEO Deborah Dugan, the first woman in that role, was suspended by the Recording Academy when she made a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Issues such as sexual harassment, voting irregularities and other misconduct were raised.
Although it is an influential organisation to music, the academy is said to be biased and lacking in diversity.
Dugan also claimed that former CEO Neil Portnow had raped a foreign female musician. He rejected the claim as “ludicrous and untrue”.
The Pre-Grammy gala was hosted by Clive Davis. Sean “Diddy” Combs caused some controversy at the ceremony. After being named an industry icon, he said American-African music had never been taken seriously by the Grammys. He said there was a need for transparency and diversity. /TISG