Grammys 2019: Kacey Musgraves wins Album of the Year on night that celebrated female artists

Roisin O'Connor, Chelsea Ritschel, Clémence Michallon

The 61st annual Grammy Awards have come to a close, on a night that finally seemed to acknowledge women in the music industry.

The ceremony itself was decidely female-focused, with superb performances from Janelle Monae, Cardi B, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Brandie Carlisle and Kacey Musgraves, plus a powerful opening speech from host Alicia Keys, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama.

The main prizes were handed out to a female majority, including H.E.R for Best R&B Album, and Cardi B, who became the first female solo artist in Grammys history to win Best Rap Album. British artist Dua Lipa, who had performed a medley of her song "One Love" with St Vincent's "My Seduction" just moments before, was awarded the prize for Best New Artist.

The biggest prize of the night, Album of the Year, went to Kacey Musgraves, who looked overwhelmed as she realised she had beaten competition from the likes of Janelle Monae, Cardi B, Drake, H.E.R and Kendrick Lamar.

The change-up follows an outcry over the lack of female winners last year, after which Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said that women needed to "step up" if they wanted to be recognised.

In response to the backlash, the Recording Academy appointed a task force led by Tina Tchen, a former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, to “identify the various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities” at the academy.

Despite the positive change in acknowledging women at the ceremony, it appeared that the Grammys have done little to soothe their troubled relationship with the hip hop community.

Drake made a surprise appearance to pick up his award for Best Rap Song, unfortunately appearing to get cut off as he spoke about what success meant. He and fellow hip hop artists like Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar have a difficult relationship with the Grammys, with Lamar snubbed for Album of the Year three times.

And while Childish Gambino won two out of the four biggest prizes of the night, for Record of the Year and Song of the Year with "This is America", he was noticeable absent from the ceremony. According to the show's longtime producer Ken Erlich, Kendrick, Chilidish Gambino and Drake all turned down offers to perform at the Grammys this year.

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“The fact of the matter is, we continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world,” Ehrlich told the New York Times. “When they don't take home the big prize, the regard of the academy, and what the Grammys represent, continues to be less meaningful to the hip-hop community, which is sad."