In less than one week, America has come to figure out what just happened during two of her most respected events: the super bowl halftime show and the Grammy Awards ceremony. After Beyoncé’s controversial performance of her new single “formation” last Sunday, during the halftime show of the Super bowl 50, we thought African American artists were going to be more consensual, less vindictive during the rest of this Black History month [pun intended]. That was a mistake. And we should have known better. Indeed, we didn’t take into consideration the fact that one of the most talented rapper alive today, Kendrick Lamar, was going head to head with Taylor Swift at the Grammys with the number of nominations (11 versus 7). And the competition side of the event went bust as soon as the rapper came back on the stage a few moments after he scored his fifth Grammy of the night for Best Rap Album. After Don Cheadle introduced him to an enthusiastic public, Kendrick Lamar went on to perform a medley that included “Alright” and “The Blacker the Berry,” the rapper born in Compton (California) 28 years ago approached the microphone, chained to other young black men on a makeshift prison block. What followed was a Biggie-invoking, glow-in-the-dark, Fela!-inspired event fit for Broadway. True to Kendrick’s lightning rod stage presence, it ended with the debut of a searing new verse about modern slavery, in memory of Trayvon Martin: “On February 26th I lost my life, too.”
Kendrick Lamar’s performance was so impressive, the rapper has everyone talking about it, even the day after the brillance of his show on the Grammys stage dazzled fans and critiques alike.