Everything You Missed at the 2024 Grammys
While SZA was shut out of the major categories, she still walked away from the night with three trophies. Read on to learn about her big night and the other Muslim artists who won and performed.
Earlier this week, we covered the Muslim artists who took home an award at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. Now, join us for a deeper dive into the ceremony and the conversations surrounding it.
At the 2024 Grammys, Phoebe Bridgers took home the most awards, winning three with her band boygenius and one for featuring on the SZA song “Ghost in the Machine.” Despite entering the night with the most nominations of a single artist (a whopping nine nods), SZA didn't win in any of the major categories. Instead, album of the year went to Taylor Swift's album "Midnights," record of the year to Miley Cyrus's record "Flowers" and song of the year went to Billie Eilish's song "What Was I Made For?" from "Barbie The Album." Swift’s win for album of the year set a Grammy record, making her the only artist to win the award four times.
While SZA may have been shut out of the major categories, she still walked away from the night with three trophies. In addition for her aforementioned win with Bridgers for best pop duo/group performance, SZA also won best R&B song for “Snooze” and best progressive R&B album for “SOS.”
SZA’s three wins position her in a four-way tie for the second-most decorated artist of the night. The other artists with three wins include Bridgers’ indie supergroup boygenius, rapper/activist Killer Mike and another R&B singer-songwriter Victoria Monét, who won best R&B album for “Jaguar II” and also the award for best new artist.
One of SZA’s most memorable wins of the night was her win for best R&B song, which was presented by her close friend Lizzo. She was absent when her name was first read, but eventually emerged from backstage to explain that she had been changing when the award was announced and hurried to the stage after taking a shot. Her spontaneous speech felt equal parts genuine and heartful, earnestly capturing her personality. SZA embraced Lizzo, then thanked her team, her family and God before becoming emotional midway through her speech.
“I’m sorry, I’m just really overwhelmed,” SZA told the crowd. “You just don’t understand. I came really, really far and I can’t believe this is happening.” She ended her speech abruptly with one of the more memorable one-liners of the night, saying, “I’m not an attractive crier — have a good evening!” as she left.
While the night celebrated diversity and talent, there were also moments of reflection on the industry's shortcomings. Despite SZA's phenomenal success, her snub in major categories raises questions about representation and recognition within the Grammy Awards. “SOS” topped the Billboard 200 for 10 weeks, longer than any other artist nominated for album of the year. A similar issue led her manager to pull her from performing at the VMAs just several months ago.
The lack of diverse winners at the Grammys, especially when it comes to Black women, is something Jay-Z touched on during his acceptance speech for the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. Jay-Z used his wife Beyoncé as an example.“She has more Grammys than everybody and never won album of the year,” he said in his speech. “So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that — the most Grammys. Never won album of the year. That doesn’t work. Some of you are going to go home and feel like you’ve been robbed. Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don’t belong in the category.” The oversight served as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by Black artists in achieving widespread acclaim.
During the awards ceremony, SZA also performed her Grammy-nominated hits "Snooze” and “Kill Bill” from her two-time nominated album “SOS.”
Dua Lipa also performed a mashup of her recent hits, sharing a preview of "Training Season," a previously unheard song from her upcoming album that will drop as a single on Feb. 15. Lipa entered the night with two Grammy nominations for her work on "Barbie The Album," Mark Ronson’s all-star soundtrack for the summer blockbuster “Barbie” (2023). While she was nominated for both song of the year and best song written for visual media for the infectiously danceable “Dance The Night,” Lipa walked away empty handed.
In another memorable performance from the night, Annie Lennox shared a powerful tribute of Sinéad O'Connor’s "Nothing Compares 2 U" during the ceremony’s In Memoriam section, honoring O’Connor after her unexpected passing last year. Lennox ended her performance by calling for cease-fire in Gaza, befitting the way O’Connor spent most of her life and career as an outspoken activist.
In addition to SZA's three wins, several other Muslim artists went home with awards from the ceremony.
Dave Chappelle won his fifth Grammy for best comedy album for his special “What’s in a Name?” The album stemmed from a speech he gave at a naming ceremony at his former school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts. This event was initially intended to rename the theater after him but faced backlash due to Chappelle’s controversial remarks about the transgender community in his previous stand-up special, “The Closer.” Chappelle addressed the controversy during his acceptance, expressing frustration with the criticism of his artistic expression.
Meshell Ndegeocello, a multi-instrumental musician credited with sparking the neo-soul music movement, won the inaugural Grammy for best alternative jazz album for “The Omnichord Real Book.” This marked Ndegeocello’s second Grammy win; she previously won in 2021 for best R&B song with "Better Than I Imagined," in collaboration with Robert Glasper and H.E.R.
Composer Zakir Hussain won two of his three individually nominated categories, taking home best contemporary instrumental album for “As We Speak” (shared with Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Rakesh Chaurasia) and best global music performance for “Pashto” (shared again with Fleck, Meyer and Chaurasia). He also won best global music album with his band Shakti for their album “This Moment.”
Finally, singer-songwriter K’naan earned a Special Merit Award for best song for social change. The award honors songwriters of message-driven music that speaks to the social issues of our time and has demonstrated and inspired positive global impact. K'naan won the award for his single "Refugee," along with co-writers Steve McEwan and Gerald Eaton aka Jarvis Church.
At the time of awarding, Nina Frazier, a contributor for the Grammys, wrote that "Refugee" is notable, "as a distinctive musical endeavor, skillfully interweaving personal and political narratives, and serving as a tribute to refugees around the world. With the single, K’naan drew inspiration from his personal experiences, aiming to redefine the traditional perception of the term 'refugee' into a symbol of resilience and strength. The song was written with the hopes of encouraging individuals to embrace the word 'refugee' proudly and to give those made homeless by conflict a song that felt like home."
The 2024 Grammy Awards ceremony was a night of both celebration and reflection, showcasing the immense talent of artists across various genres while also prompting important conversations about representation and recognition within the music industry. As the music industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that efforts towards inclusivity and equity remain at the forefront, ensuring that all voices are heard and celebrated on music's grandest stage.