This year’s Grammys was a night to remember where justice, the power of music, and women’s representation took center stage.
On a night that saw Global Citizen artists like Miley Cyrus, SZA, Billie Eilish, and FINNEAS rake in the honors, we take a look at the moments that made the night, from historic wins for women musicians to stars using the platform to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
1. Women dominated the night.
Six years ago, the Grammys winners circle was a boy’s club. Over the course of the three-and-a-half hour telecast, only one solo female musician accepted an award on screen: Alessia Cara, who was awarded Best New Artist.
Six years later, it’s a very different picture.
All nine of the categories represented were won by women artists, spread across seven different names.
Taylor Swift won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, Miley Cyrus became a two-time Grammy winner with the Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance awards, Victoria Monét was heralded Best New Artist, Billie Eilish won Song of the Year, SZA’s “Snooze” was named Best R&B Song, Lainey Wilson won Best Country Album, and Karol G took home the golden gramophone for Best Música Urbana Album.
2. Annie Lennox called for a ceasefire in Gaza during her tribute to Sinéad O’Connor.
After performing “Nothing Compares 2 U” as a tribute to Sinéad O’Connor during the In Memoriam segment of the awards ceremony, Annie Lennox closed the performance by calling for a ceasefire — a moment that felt true to O'Connor's own legacy as an activist who campaigned against racism, for the right to abortion, and human rights among other things.
Lennox’s call came just over a week since the UN’s top court, the International Court of Justice, ordered Israel to ensure it does not commit acts of genocide.
3. Recording Academy President paid tribute to the victims of the Israeli Supernova music festival attacks.
Recording Academy President Harvey Mason Jr. paid tribute to the 360 festival attendees who were killed on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants.
Explaining that the string quartet playing in the background consisted of musicians of Palestinian, Israeli, and Arab descent, he said: “We live in a world divided by so much. And maybe music can’t solve everything, but let us all agree, music must remain the common ground upon which we all stand, together in peace and harmony. Because music has always been one of humanity’s greatest connectors.”
4. Montana Tucker uses red carpet to show support for Israeli hostages
Singer Montana Tucker adorned her red carpet gown with a big yellow ribbon to show her support for the Israeli hostages who remain in captivity in Gaza. Tucker visited Israel in December to "bear witness" to the violece of the Oct. 7 attack on the Supernova music festival.
Montana Tucker Puts Yellow Ribbon for Israeli Hostages Front and Center on Her Grammys Look https://t.co/EdnHLqkpes— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 5, 2024
5. Jay Z didn’t spare the Recording Academy.
Jay Z was honored with the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award for his contribution to the music industry and used his victory speech — for which he brought his daughter Blue Ivy onstage — to blister the Recording Academy for its glass ceilings and past missteps.
He noted that the industry had come a long way since Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff boycotted the Grammys in 1989 over the rap awards not being televised but that there was still work to be done.
One of the things he highlighted was the fact that while Beyoncé is the most awarded artist in Grammy history, she has never been awarded album of the year.
In a mic drop moment, he said: “When I get nervous, I tell the truth.”
5. Burna Boy made history as the first Afrobeats star to perform.
In a medley performance featuring Brandy and 21 Savage, the Nigerian musician became the first Afrobeats artist to light up the stage — and light it up he did.
Burna Boy kicked off his performance of "On Form" in a red jeweled jacket and pants, then performed his 2023 single "City Boys."
African music has become so popular that the Recording Academy introduced a new award this year: Best African Performance. However, some music critics argue that African artists should be included in many more mainstream categories to increase the diversity of the academy.
6. Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker wore Artists Call for Ceasefire Now pins.
Boygenius — the alternative music group composed of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker — used their Grammys 2024 red carpet look to advocate for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The trio wore matching ivory white suits and red pins that stated “artists for ceasefire."
Artists for Ceasefire is a collective of musicians, artists, actors, and advocates who have come together in response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza.
7. Best Song for Social Change drew attention to the global refugee crisis.
Ahead of the Grammys, Somali-Canadian musician K'naan received the Best Song for Social Change award for his 2023 single “Refugee.”
On May 24, 2022, the UN announced that the number of displaced people worldwide had surpassed a staggering milestone for the first time: 100 million people.
By mid-2023, that number had increased even more to 110 million, according to the UNHRC, the UN’s Refugee Agency.