"This Is America" just made history by becoming the first rap song to win Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2019 Grammys on Sunday. Artist Childish Gambino, known as Donald Glover for his acting projects, took home four awards in total for his single. The song originally dropped at the same time that Glover was hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live, setting the internet abuzz from the start, and tackles important topics such as gun violence and discrimination in the United States.
The latest win caps off a big year for Glover professionally, including a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Atlanta as well as his well-received turn as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars prequel Solo. He was even given a shoutout in the extremely buzzed about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as a subtle acknowledgement of his role in the creation of Miles Morales. The song itself has been no stranger to acclaim either, taking home big wins at both the MTV Video Music Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards since its release last May.
The song won Record of the Year (via Rolling Stone) in the face of some strong contenders, including "I Like It" by Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin and “Shallow” by Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga. The competition for Song of the Year was equally tough, as Glover and his collaborators beat out the songwriters of Kendrick Lamar & SZA's "All the Stars" and Drake's “God’s Plan." While Glover himself did not attend the Grammys ceremony in order to receive the awards, presenters John Mayer and Alicia Keys accepted the Song of the Year award in his honor. When it came to Record of the Year, collaborator and Black Panther composer Ludwig Göransson spoke on Glover's behalf.
Childish Gambino's "This Is America" is the first rap song in history to win the Record of the Year Grammy pic.twitter.com/HrpHU4tlCG— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) February 11, 2019
Despite not being present at the event itself, Childish Gambino did appear in some form: the commercials. The singer was seen in the middle of a dance-off with his playmoji counterpart for a Google Pixel 3 ad that ran during the awards show, set to the tune of one of his unreleased tracks. Given that Glover attended a pre-Grammys party in Los Angeles on Thursday night, and that neither his team nor his collaborator seemed to know where he was on the night of the awards themselves, perhaps the cameo via technology was meant as a statement.
He wasn't the only missing face in the crowd, as Ariana Grande also won an award despite publicly boycotting the ceremony due to a disagreement over her performance. However, Glover certainly left the biggest impression with his historic win. Hopefully Sunday's recognition serves as proof that the song's message and exploration of racial tensions is resonating throughout the country. While a single song's well-deserved accolades can't turn the tide alone when it comes to diversity in the industry, it does point to a more open mind on the part of the voting members. And it wasn't the only area in which strides were made, as six women were nominated for Best New Artist after last year's nominees contained very few female artists. Finally, though Childish Gambino was the only rap artist to win in the four major categories, Cardi B also made history as the first female solo act to win best rap album.
Source: Rolling Stone