Childish Gambino has won Song of the Year at the 61st Grammy Awards. His single “This Is America” beat out tracks by Drake (“God’s Plan”), Kendrick Lamar and SZA (“All the Stars”), Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (“Shallow”), Ella Mai (“Boo’d Up”), Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey (“The Middle”), and Brandi Carlile (“The Joke”).
“This Is America” is the first hip-hop Song of the Year winner in Grammy history. The last artist to win one of the big four awards while absent from the ceremony was Amy Winehouse, in 2008. She accepted her awards for Record and Song of the Year and Best New Artist via satellite link-up from London. The last time the award was accepted on an artist’s behalf was in 2003, when Luther Vandross won Song of the Year and his business manager and “Dance With My Father” co-writer accepted the award. This is the first time a living nominee hasn’t been present to accept one of the 4 major awards since George Michael in 1989. Watch the presenters John Mayer and Alicia Keys accept the Grammy in Donald Glover’s honor.
Glover also teased what sounded like unreleased Childish Gambino music in a Google Pixel Playmoji ad that aired during the Grammys. Cross-referencing the lyrics online reveals the song is called “Human Sacrifice”; Gambino’s been playing it on tour in the past several months. Check that out here.
Young Thug and Black Panther composer Ludwig Göransson were also credited as Song of the Year winners alongside Gambino. Earlier in the night, Göransson’s Black Panther score won the award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. A Grammys producer previously revealed that Glover, Drake, and Kendrick all turned down performances.
In addition to Song of the Year, “This Is America” got nominated for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song. Earlier in the ceremony, it picked up the awards for Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
21 Savage is among the many background vocalists on “This Is America.” 21, who was nominated for two Grammys for “rockstar,” was absent from tonight’s ceremony because he was recently detained by ICE, who claim that he “is unlawfully present in the U.S.” Since the arrest, 21 has confirmed that he was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States at age 7. There’s also been an outpouring of support for 21 Savage from the hip-hop community. JAY-Z, for one, called the arrest “an absolute travesty,” and has hired an attorney to assist 21.
Follow all of OkHit’s coverage of this year’s Grammy Awards.
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