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4 Times The Grammys Gave Us Black Girl Magic

Culture & Entertainment

Let it be known, when it comes to the Grammys, we come, we serve, and we slay.


Despite the opinions of lack of representation within the Grammys, the platform has always been a place for black women to come in and take over the stage. Our presence alone is not only felt, but the amount of talent that we embody is also enchanting. The first display of black girl magic at the famous award show was in 1958, when Ella Fitzgerald became the first POC and first Black woman to win a Grammy. There is no doubt in our minds that she opened the door for other black women to follow in her footsteps and make their own marks during music's most coveted night in the years that came after.

This weekend, we celebrate the anniversary of 60 years since Ella first set the bar. Every year has been a public display of the magic that is created by WOC artists as black women have consistently been foundational powerhouses in the music industry. Here is a list of some of the most memorable times that black girl magic took over the Grammys.

1. Beyonce's 2017 Performance

Beyonce's performance at the 2017 Grammys was unlike any other performance we've seen. Audience members were in a trance when the glorious full-bellied goddess graced the stage in an ornate head dress and sheer crystals in homage to Oshun. The ethereal performance was not at all stunted by the fact that Beyonce was carrying two whole humans inside of her as she sang a medley of "Love Drought" and "Sandcastles" from her critically acclaimed Lemonade project.

"Women like her cannot be contained," a line from her monologue during the performance, captures the true BGM that is Beyonce.

2. Jennifer Hudson Comes Full Circle With Whitney Houston

In a full circle moment, Whitney Houston presented Jennifer Hudson with the Grammy for best R&B album of 2009. Jennifer's stunned reaction being embraced by the lovely late Whitney is a tear jerker. (Or is someone cooking onions? Lordt.) She went on that evening to give a chilling performance of "You Pulled Me Through" right after the tragic murder of her family. At the time, many of us were wondering when she would return to the spotlight in the wake of such a devastating event. So her appearance and her soul-stirring performance were a reminder of her strength and perserverance.

Three years later, Jennifer Hudson was chosen to honor Whitney by singing her classic "I Will Always Love You". She was able to give a stunning performance though the news of Whitney's death hit only a day prior to the show. You can feel her tears in the performance as she commemorated a legend that was lost too soon.

3. Tina Turner Performing "What's Love Got To Do With It"

Tina Turner is one of the veterans of pure black girl magic. Her journey to success and independence is known by many. So to see her win in such a big way felt like a win for all women. Her hit single "What's Love Got To Do With It" had her on top of her game as a music icon. All she needed at the 1985 Grammy Awards was a sparkling red dress, her iconic walk, and arresting voice to go down with one of the greatest performances in Grammy history.

4. Whitney Houston Performing With CeCe Winans

Black girl magic would not exist without the component of sisterhood. When a queen recognizes her power, she is able to reflect and then exalt the power in another. Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans knew this as a truth, and it was embodied in their magical performance together at the 1997 Grammys. Whitney started off singing solo, but "Exhale" led to her duet with CeCe called "Count On Me". The performance of the song opened up to feature other incredible women in the industry, including Brandy, Chaka Khan, and Aretha Franklin. The result was undeniable magic.

Featured image by Getty Images

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