Are the recent strides made by notable Black figures solely in honor of Black history month or is the spirit of “unapologetic Blackness” sweeping across every part of the Black community? Judging by the heightened sense of ‘wokeness’ and impactful media content, it may be the latter. The 58th Annual Grammy Awards, widely known for it’s failure to acknowledge Black artistry, surprised us all Monday nightt with its performance and award selection.
Arguably one of our generation’s most conscious rappers, Kendrick Lamar graced the stage receiving five awards for his latest work, To Pimp A Butterfly. In addition to receiving every award in the rap category, like Beyoncé, he delivered what would be marked as a controversial, unapologetically Black performance.
To Pimp A Butterfly is noted as Kendrick’s fully evolved recognition of his self; the Black man that has been hindered by the social constructs of America. He brought “Alright” and “The Blacker the Berry” to life with his thematic stage set up. Lamar approached the microphone in shackles, with stage dancers following behind him. You see prison cells on stage and the set transcends into a fire with African spirit dancers around it; scenic elements that work to reflect Black culture. He delivered a high-powered performance with passion and fury in his lyrics. People are grateful for his choice to perform something so impactful and are curious to see what it ignites.