Last night’s 65th annual Grammy awards ushered in a number of historic nominations and wins. Beyoncé made history as the most decorated musician of all time at the Grammys, Viola Davis became an EGOT winner, Kim Petras was the first transgender woman to win Best Pop Duo Performance with Sam Smith for “Unholy”, and Bad Bunny was the first nominated for Album of the Year with an entirely Spanish language album. Additionally, Taylor Swift took home a Grammy for Best Music Video for All Too Well: The Short Film, which she directed herself. Funny and heartfelt moments were quick to spread on social media, including Taylor Swift dancing to Bad Bunny’s energetic Latin music.
— Taylor Swift News ???? (@TSwiftNZ) February 6, 2023
The show included a lively opening from Bad Bunny that paid homage to his Puerto Rican and Dominican roots, a fiery performance from Sam Smith and Kim Petras, a long medley that honored the 50 year legacy of Hip Hop, and other bejeweled performances from Lizzo, Harry Styles, and Steve Lacy. All led up to the one pivotal moment that viewers wait for every year–the coveted prize for Album of the Year.
This year’s nominees included Harry Styles, Beyoncé, ABBA, Adele, Lizzo, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, and Kendrick Lamar. After a much contested vote, Harry Styles took home the Grammy for his 2022 album Harry’s House. This was only Styles’ second round of Grammy nominations, and his first fully in-person ceremony since COVID-19. He previously took home the 2021 award for Best Pop Solo performance for his song “Watermelon Sugar.”
This year, the Grammys invited fans of nominated artists to speak about why they felt their favorite artist should win the awards they were nominated for. 78-year-old Reina, a Harry Styles super fan, was given the opportunity to present Styles with the big award. Styles, shocked, delivered a speech that would later spark a lot of conversation.
Fans of Beyoncé and Bad Bunny were gravely disappointed, and outraged that Styles said that winning such an award “doesn’t happen to people [like him] very often.” Only 11 Black artists have ever won Album of the Year, and some felt Beyoncé was snubbed.
Fans of Beyoncé were none too pleased with Harry’s acceptance speech, and the fact that the award yet again was not presented to a Black artist. Specifically, Beyoncé’s Renaissance particularly uplifted Black queer voices this year in honor of her late uncle.
Y’all begged Beyoncé to come and played in her face!!!!! What Beyoncé did on Renaissance Harry could NEVER!!!!! She gave black LGBTQ+ people a voice and gave us one of the greatest albums of 2022!!!!! bitch I’m mad
— ???? (@heyjaeee) February 6, 2023
Others criticized Styles’ seemingly shocked demeanor during his acceptance speech.
does harry even believe he got best album?????????? pic.twitter.com/Oml0KXq8Ht
— anania ☆ (@Anania00) February 6, 2023
Fans of Styles were quick to jump to his defense, explaining what they felt could have upset him earlier in the evening. At the beginning of the show, host Trevor Noah went around the room and spoke about several of the artists present. For nearly everyone, he discussed their music, with a few lighthearted humorous jokes. For Styles, he referred to the “As It Was” singer as a sex symbol. Styles spoke to Zane Lowe about how uncomfortable he has felt with this label throughout his career, as he feels it minimizes his work.
and also kid harpoon’s speech acknowledging that the public forgets harry styles is a person after trevor noah reduced him to just a sex symbol in front of friends and people he looks up to..i hope he feels embarrassed
— nic ✩ misses louis (@marvelftlouist) February 6, 2023
they did not just call harry styles a sex symbol at the grammys pic.twitter.com/Lxw8IlR3Pg
— sammy! (@hhyyunie) February 6, 2023
A behind-the-scenes clip of people heckling Styles on stage during his acceptance speech has also circulated on TikTok.
Some interpret Styles saying that people like him didn’t win that often as a nod to his past as a member of a boy band who was sexualized at a young age. Styles has since pursued a solo career focused on acceptance of diverse communities, and self expression. Despite seemingly mis-directed criticism that seems to be intended for the Recording Academy, his fans and several industry friends were quick to support him. Styles is close personal friends with fellow AOTY nominee Lizzo, who hugged him on his way to the stage and recorded his acceptance speech.
Taylor Swift, who previously dated Harry Styles when the pair were both early on in their music careers, was seen dancing during his performance, and even congratulating Styles on his big wins of the night.
— Harry Styles Brasil ???? (@hstbrasil) February 6, 2023
the person who captured this deserves the world you literally never lose being a harry styles and taylor swift fan pic.twitter.com/jNLWcb3Nsd
— etain! (@getawaydancing) February 6, 2023
Former One Direction bandmate Niall Horan also posted a tribute to Styles on Instagram.
Regardless of some public criticism of the academy, Styles took home two Grammy awards for his third studio album, Harry’s House. Earlier this year, he completed a residency of shows at Madison Square Garden, a feat accomplished by acclaimed musicians such as Billy Joel. Last night’s wins cemented Styles’ solo career, and confirmed what his fans have always preached–he never goes out of style.