The 2023 Grammy Awards contained plenty of unforgettable moments throughout the nearly four-hour telecast. Artists old and new gathered to celebrate Music’s Biggest Night, and witness some memorable performances and speeches from accomplished musicians across genres.
Beyoncé makes history and becomes the most-awarded artist in Grammys history
Beyoncé’s smash album Renaissance took home the award for Best Dance/Electronic Album, marking the first time the award has been presented during the ceremony broadcast. With her win of the award, Beyoncé becomes the most-awarded person in Grammy Awards history, with 32 total golden gramophones to her name.
When Beyoncé took the stage to accept the award, the often-composed singer was visibly close to tears and tried to keep her emotions under control. She thanked her Uncle Johnny, who was an integral part of the Renaissance record as he exposed Beyoncé to queer culture when she was young before his death due to AIDS-related illness. “I’d like to thank my Uncle Johnny, who’s not here, but he’s here in spirit,” she said.
“I’d like to thank my parents, my father, my mother, for loving me and pushing me. I’d like to thank my beautiful husband, my beautiful three children, who are at home watching,” she continued. “I’d like to thank the queer community for your love and for inventing this genre. God bless you. Thank you so much to the Grammys. Thank you.”
Kim Petras’ historic win for ‘Unholy’
German pop singer Kim Petras similarly made history with her Grammy win. Petras and Sam Smith won the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their No. 1 hit single “Unholy.” Petras’ win makes her the first openly trans artist to win a Grammy Award.
“This song has been such an incredible, incredible journey for me,” she said. Smith opted to let Petras do all the talking and accept the award on their behalf. She went on to thank Madonna for fighting for LGBTQ rights and the trans trailblazers who helped her get to where she is today.
“I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends performing who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight,” she said in her acceptance speech. She went on to pay tribute to Sophie, the late artist and collaborator of hers who was beloved by many before her death. “[Sophie] told me this would happen, and always believed in me. Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you.”
50 years of hip-hop were highlighted in the tribute to hip-hop
The genre of hip-hop turns 50 years old in 2023, and the Grammy Awards contained one of the biggest celebrations of the genre to mark the historic occasion. The lengthy tribute features artists from the past five decades taking the stage to celebrate the past, present, and future of hip-hop.
The artists who performed included Big Boi, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Melle Mel, The Furious Five, Public Enemy, Ice-T, Lil Baby, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, Run-D.M.C., Salt-N-Pepa, Scarface, Swizz Beatz, and Too $hort.
Will Smith was asked to participate in the tribute but ultimately declined.