By: Alex Spindler ~Staff Writer~
Amidst a cavalcade of diverse performances ranging from a piano duet between legendary songwriter Carole King and Sara Barielles to a less-than-well-received jukebox dance by Taylor Swift, controversy bubbled to the surface at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
The duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis led the pack with four wins (untraditional for performers who produce in the rap category alone) – Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album.
Critical backlash from the rap community has ignited much discussion over their wins.
Many prominent rap artists such as Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar were reportedly displeased with the Recording Academy’s decision to award these Grammys to such a mainstream artist like Macklemore.
West took his opinions even a step further, citing racial prejudice as the culprit behind Macklemore’s debut success.
According to West, the African-American community feels constantly slighted by the Recording Academy when rap awards are granted to white artists with non-racial messages without even blinking an eye.
In addition, the decision by Macklemore, various other artists and producers to legally marry over 30 same-sex couples during their performance of “Same Love” in the broadcast only fueled the flame.
Many point to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ push for a homosexual agenda as inappropriate for such a widely-viewed (and Tweeted) ceremony that ought to celebrate achievements in music, not social progress.
Controversies aside, Nielsen experts would point to the contrary, saying that the “mainstream feel” only aids the Grammy ceremony in its popularity and that the social justice aspect adds a thicker layer to the impact of music overall.
The 2014 Awards broadcast went on record as one of the top five most-Tweeted events in history, falling behind programs such as the Golden Globes, the 2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show with Beyoncé Knowles and Miley Cyrus’ performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards.
Though West, Lamar and other artists may find issue with Macklemore’s & Ryan Lewis’ divisive material and approach, the duo found itself atop the charts and critical polls for 2013.