The 2018 Grammy Awards were nothing short of a boys' club. Mere moments before the ceremony commenced, artist Janelle Monae tweeted: "A total of 90.7% of nominees between 2013 and 2018 were male, meaning just 9.3% were women." Ouch. A distressing (but necessary) realization.
With ratings for the biggest night in music reportedly down from last year, the time has come for The Recording Academy to revisit their outdated (and apparently sexist) model. Out of the many things that could have been done better? For starters, Cardi B should have been allowed to shine.
Arriving on the red carpet in an ethereal Ashi wedding dress, Cardi B — nominated for two awards — owned the night, accompanied by her sister, Hennesy. "Bronx made, Highbridge raised," indeed. This, like so many of her other red carpet appearances, was her moment, one that would precede her first time on the Grammy stage. Hence her epic proclamation to E!'s Giuliana Rancic: "Butterflies in my stomach and vagina!"
One of the night's big winners was Bruno Mars, who left Madison Square Garden with a total of seven gramophone trophies. Mars, as we know, duets with Cardi on the booming, '90s-inspired hip-hop track "Finesse," whose video draws on the colorful aesthetic of the TV show In Living Color.
Last night's performance was the first time the two debuted the single live on television. The result? A joyous celebration that sadly sold Cardi short. And while we're all for drippin' in finesse, we can't help but wonder why she didn't get to perform solo.
For one, she's an amazing performer. Two, she certainly has the material. In addition to "Bodak Yellow" being the undisputed song of 2017, her latest single "Bartier Cardi," has become the rapper's fourth Hot 100 hit. And three, before "Finesse" got the Cardi B treatment, it was nothing more than another track on Bruno's 24K Magic. After learning that Lorde wasn't allowed to perform her own material, it's hard to not read last night's performance as having been regulated as second-string to a man.
So what is CBS afraid of? If it was her choice to perform "Finesse," fine — she has a track to promote. But why then did they oddly transition into a verse from "Bartier Cardi"? It should have been the whole damn song. If anything, Cardi's decision to perform with Bruno was a smart one — as said earlier, he won 7 Grammys — but that's just representative of the bigger issue at hand: female artists have to succeed in the industry in the context of men, despite earning success of their own. She knows how to play the game, but the rules needs to change. When you're dealing with a queen like Cardi, she should be treated as such.