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Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won song of the year honors at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, marking the first time a rap song has won in this category. The songwriters, who were not present at the ceremony to accept the award, were Donald Glover, Ludwig Goransson and Jeffrey Lamar Williams.
Along with fellow nominees Kendrick Lamar and Drake, Glover — as Childish Gambino — declined to perform at the Grammys. This is due to tension between these musicians and the Recording Academy, which has been accused in the past of alienating hip hop artists by nominating them in major categories but rarely awarding them.
This year proved to be different as Childish Gambino, in addition to his best song trophy, became the first rapper to win best record of the year. Cardi B became the first solo female artist to win best rap album.
In the early days of its release,”This Is America” gained over 50 million views on YouTube, breaking Childish Gambino’s previous records on the platform. (Currently, the video has been viewed over 482 million times.) The song tackles topics that affect the black community in America, such as gun violence, police brutality and mass shootings.
Backstage at the Grammys, fellow winner Shaggy opened up about “This Is America.” “The music video is a work of art,” he said. “It was so ‘in your face,’ it takes artistry.” He added that rap winners got their “due” tonight. Shaggy and Sting won best reggae album for 44/876.
Childish Gambino beat out “All the Stars” from (artists) Kendrick Lamar and SZA, “Boo’d Up” from Ella Mai, “God’s Plan” from Drake, “In My Blood” from Shawn Mendes, “The Joke” from Brandi Carlile, “The Middle” from Zedd, Maren Moriss and Grey and “Shallow” from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.
On the acting side, Glover voices the role of Simba in Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, a reimagining of the 1994 Disney classic, which is set for release in July. Additional voices in the film include Beyonce, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key.
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