There was a cross the Internet uproar after (and during) the Grammys’ historic Madonna/Mackemore/Queen Latifah weddings sequence, a number that The Advocate, the longstanding LGBT mag, called “The Gayest Grammys Anyone Could Imagine.”
I watched my Facebook newsfeed light up that night with rolling commentary, which I depended on because I don’t have TV. I’m not one of those ‘Kill Your Television’ people, but in New York, it’s just too expensive. I get my TV viewing online. Bless the Internet.
People in my newsfeed, and they weren’t the only ones, were horrified by the “groundbreaking” performance centered around Macklemore’s hit soft-rap song ‘Same Love’ – taking on Madonna’s voice, Madonna’s outfit, Madonna’s plastic surgery, Madonna’s stage presence, Macklemore’s credibility, closeted Queen Latifah and her officiating of 33 public weddings. Oh god, the weddings.
The day after the Grammys I watched that whole number on YouTube to see it for myself. Madonna was in a white suit with a white cane. Her ensemble didn’t bother me (and the cane was reportedly due to some leg injury she’d sustained before the Grammys), but didn’t anyone ever tell her you’re not supposed to wear white to a wedding?
Everyone called her voice unlistenable at best and her stage presence stilted and timid, as though she didn’t know what to do with herself onstage. I thought she was appropriately laid back considering she was sharing the stage with three other people. I didn’t get the sense that she was uncomfortable. Her voice, however, did leave something to be desired. That said, we’ve all known from day one that Madonna doesn’t have a great voice. She even admitted it herself in an interview more that 10 years ago. Her vocals with Lenny Kravitz at the MTV Video Awards during her Ray of Light era were far, far worse.
Macklemore was the only white hip-hop artist up for a Grammy, and he turned up the winner, another thing that twisted some people’s panties. I get the issue people take with Macklemore. He’s a privileged straight white guy writing a pro-gay song from the point of view of a kid (him) who worried that he was gay as a child and was teased by schoolmates who called him a fag. While it may be self-indulgent, I believe Macklemore’s heart is in the right place, and though there are some arguably more talented rap acts out there right now, Macklemore’s anthem is a refreshing change from the oft-misogynous and homophobic rhymes spouted out by the majority of hip-hop artists.
The truly moving moment was supposed to be when, during Macklemore’s performance, 33 couples in the audience, both gay and straight, got married at the same time. Nice idea, but it seemed disingenuous. The couples barely got any screen time with the camera whiplashing to Macklemore and Madonna, making the nuptials feel like less of a statement and more of a gimmicky afterthought.
And as for Queen Latifah, well, she’s a beloved and multitalented public figure, but how hypocritical was it that she officiated the weddings, speaking out loud and proud, and yet has never outed herself as gay – which we all know she is. Maybe that wasn’t her moment to come out, but if the gayest Grammys one could ever imagine wasn’t, when is?