Biggest Grammy Moments

The 6 Biggest Moments From This Year's Grammy Awards

There were many.

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The 61st Annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday night, and it was A LOT. There were countless no-shows, star-studded tributes to musical legends, and Alicia Keys played two pianos at once. Not bad for a Sunday night. I've rounded up some of my favorite moments (and some of the biggest) in the following list, in no particular order.

When Cardi B Made History Winning Best Rap Album For "Invasion of Privacy"

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Cardi B became the first solo female artist to win the award. Her acceptance speech was full of raw emotion, and a lot of shaking. Led onstage by Offset, her husband and member of the rap group Migos, Cardi joked that she "should probably start smoking weed," after confessing how nervous she was. This was the Bronx rapper's first Grammy win; she made her Grammy debut only one year ago when her breakout hit "Bodak Yellow" was nominated for two awards. "Invasion of Privacy" topped the charts throughout much of last year, breaking records and launching Cardi into rap stardom.

When Lady Gaga Performed "Shallow" From A Star Is Born

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Clad in a bejeweled bodysuit and accompanied by producer Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga performed the hit song from her recent film A Star Is Born. The performance may have been "scaled back" in Gaga terms -- the song is somewhat of a departure from the pop anthems that characterized her early career -- but it was nonetheless her own. The most captivating part of the performance occurred at the very end, as an expressionless Gaga stared straight into the camera without blinking for what seemed to be an eternity. It became the subject of countless memes overnight.

When Drake's Acceptance Speech Was Cut Off

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It's hard to tell whether Drake's acceptance speech was really an acceptance speech. The popular rapper won Best Rap Song for "God's Plan," his longest-leading No. 1 single on the Billboard Top 100 chart. After taking the award from the presenter, Drake emphasized how little a Grammy meant to him: "Look, if there's people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don't need this right here...You already won." His speech was then cut off by a commercial break in an ironic turn of events that garnered plenty of headlines. Drake's criticism of the Grammy's isn't surprising: it comes in the middle of a long battle between hip-hop and the awards show, which consistently fails to give the genre the recognition it already receives in pop culture.

When Ariana Grande Didn't Show Up -- And Still Owned The Grammys

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Ariana Grande joined many of her fellow stars when she pulled out of performing at the awards show just days before it was set to air. A dispute with the show's producers was reported as the reason for her absence. However, unwilling to miss out from the hype, Grande posted a series of photos on social media wearing the custom-made Zac Posen dress she would have worn on the red carpet. The first photo garnered 5.6 million likes. In essence, Ariana Grande single-handedly upstaged the Grammys. The "Thank U, Next" singer ended up winning Best Pop Vocal Album for her "Sweetener," released last August. She accepted the award with a tweet.

When Alicia Keys Played Two Pianos At Once

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This year, 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys hosted the awards show. In a little over six-minutes, Keys welcomed the Grammy audience to "Club Keys" and captivated every viewer with a medley of songs that inspired her, singing hits from all decades and genres, from Juice WRLD to Lauryn Hill. The most notable parts of her performance came when she played two grand pianos at once, a tribute to the late Hazel Scott, a classical pianist from Trinidad who gained national attention for her skills in the late 1940s and 50s.

When Dua Lipa Called Out Neil Portnow

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Last April, former Recording Academy President Neil Portnow set off a firestorm when he told Variety magazine that women would need to "step up" if they wanted more credit at the Grammys. (During last year's awards show, Alessia Cara was the only woman to receive a solo award). After a petition was created calling for his removal, Portnow left his position as president, and the Academy has been making up for his comments ever since. The controversy was once again put in the spotlight this year by pop singer Dua Lipa, who won the awards for Best Dance Recording ("Electricity") and Best New Artist. During her acceptance speech for the latter, she called out the former president: "I just wanted to say how honored I am to be nominated alongside so many incredible female artists this year, because I guess this year we really stepped up!" It became a gratifying moment for the many women who won awards that night.

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Bethel Church's Gay Conversion Program Is A Huge Problem And We're Not Talking Enough About It

Religion doesn't give us a right to purposefully abuse a community.

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About a year ago, in May of 2018, Bethel Church in Redding, California came out publicly against a set of proposed laws which would make it illegal for a licensed mental health professional to perform 'conversion therapy' in order to change the sexual orientation or same-sex attractions of a person. The head pastor of the church asked for members of Bethel Church to act against the three bills (California AB 1779, AB 2943 and AB 2119), urging them to contact their congressmen and ask for them to prevent the laws from passing, all in order for them to continue their harmful ex-gay ministry.

Today, Bethel Church is under scrutiny for the role out of their ex-gay conversion initiative, CHANGED. The website of the initiative movement claims that any change is possible through Jesus, and encourages those who identify as LGBTQ+ to abandon the "pain, rejection, and despair," of being LGBTQ+. (CHANGED website). This movement is not the first, but just the next in a long line of organizations claiming to provide change for those who identify as LGBTQ+, despite this being an impossibility. Ex-gay programs, in actuality, only serve to push those who go through them farther away from the love of God.

Conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people has been proven not only to be completely ineffective but has also been found to cause intense mental issues and in many cases, a strong correlation to suicide. Those who have gone through ex-gay therapy programs such as Exodus International or Focus on the Family's Love Won Out have admitted that even after successfully completing the program they had not experienced a change in their same-sex attraction. The founder of Exodus International even claimed that by his estimation, 99.9% of those who had gone through his organization's therapy had not experienced any change in their orientation. Exodus International was considered intensely controversial, and their methods considered by most, if not all, mental health professionals to be incredibly damaging. Those who come out of conversion therapy experience intense feelings of depression and often experience a lack of self-worth.

As a Christian, I grieve every single time someone claiming to believe what I do comes out and condemns the LGBT community. It hurts to see one community I am a member of being hateful towards another community I am just as proud to be a part of. This news stung a little harder because I for a long time have loved Bethel Church's worship band. Their songs have spoken to me in ways I cannot fully describe, helping to bring me closer to the God I believe in. A God who I can say for certain would never advocate for something as damaging and destructive as conversion therapy. The same Jesus who Bethel's songs worship is the same Jesus who calls us to love everyone. Bethel Church is not following this call, and it is important that we speak out against conversion therapy, and not allow our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to carry out such a harmful program.

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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