As Duana just mentioned in the previous post about Hamilton – and yes, Duana, you are right about Hamilton, but does that mean she has to text me, literally, EVERY SINGLE DAY, like, 8 times about it? – the back-to-back Hamilton-Kendrick Lamar pieces last night during the Grammys was glorious evidence that the same stories can be told in different ways and that new stories need to be told in as many ways as possible, despite institutional insistence that these stories be contained in one category, separate and safe, so as not to disrupt the status quo. Can you stop the disruption though?
Kendrick Lamar agitated last night on stage. His 3 song medley was a statement about the black experience in America – the pain, the anger, the hurt, but also the hope. To me, it was the most honest performance of the entire night. Honesty, however, is supposed to make you uncomfortable. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a precursor to meaningful change.
Kendrick won 5 Grammys last night: Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Best Video (with Taylor Swift for Bad Blood). For now, that’s where they can keep him, in “rap”, where “he belongs”. For how much longer though? Every time he shows up at the Grammys, this is the question he’s asking through his art: how much longer? Because it’s coming.
I’m not sure it means as much to Kendrick as it does to others. For him, if he were to win Album of the Year one day, it’s not the actual winning that would matter but the transformation that would have to happen for him to get there.
Also, OMG, he wore the sh-t out of that black shirt.