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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history
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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

2019 Grammy Awards Red Carpet Arrivals

Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

In her elegant aqua and pink head wrap – and still makeup free – Alicia Keys immediately set the tone for this year’s Grammy Awards with a simple statement: “Music is so powerful.”

The first-time host, an artist whose soul is clearly and genuinely consumed with music, also unveiled the second theme of the 61st annual Grammy Awards in its opening minutes: This was going to be a ladies’ night.

>> On AJC.com: Grammy Awards 2019: Georgia shines in early categories

Or, as best new artist winner Dua Lipa cheekily commented, “I guess this year we really stepped up,” a nod to a controversial comment made backstage last year by outgoing Recording Academy President Neil Portnow. 

Country darling Kacey Musgraves swept her four categories, including the prestigious album of the year, for her lauded “Golden Hour.” 

“Life is pretty tumultuous right now for all of us, and because of that, art is really thriving and it’s been beautiful to see that,” she said from the stage. 

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Kacey Musgraves accepts the Best Country Album award for 'Golden Hour' onstage during the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Kacey Musgraves accepts the Best Country Album award for 'Golden Hour' onstage during the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Lady Gaga, who slayed her performance of “Shallow” by tweaking it into a sequined-studded rock anthem, won a trio of awards, while H.E.R. picked up a pair for best R&B album (“H.E.R.”) and best R&B performance (“Best Part”).

Brandi Carlile received long overdue accolades by earning three awards during the earlier Premiere Ceremony – and later unleashed a striking rendition of “The Joke,” her powerful defense of the under-represented.

>> On AJC.com: Grammy Awards 2019: Dallas Austin talks 21 Savage, Super Bowl at Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala

Backstage, she credited Janelle Monae – who went home empty-handed, but presented one of the most scintillating performances of the ceremony with her saucy “Make Me Feel” – with helping her overcome some stage fright.

“I got out there and was so freaking nervous. I looked out and saw one person with total peace on her face and it was Janelle Monae,” she said. “I lost my nervousness and I sang it to her. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”

And Cardi B, accompanied by husband Offset of Migos, was visibly overwhelmed by her first-ever Grammy win (best rap album) for “Invasion of Privacy.” She’s also the first solo female to score the award.

“Ooh, the nerves are so bad,” she said.

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Cardi B, left, accepts the award for best rap album for "Invasion of Privacy" as Offset kisses her hand at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Cardi B, left, accepts the award for best rap album for "Invasion of Privacy" as Offset kisses her hand at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Donald Glover's alter ego, Childish Gambino, earned four more trophies to add to last year’s inaugural Grammy, including the marquee record and song of the year categories for “This Is America.” It’s the first time a rap song has won record and song of the year.

Gambino was conspicuously absent at this year’s ceremony (he performed last year), so his awards were accepted by co-writer and producer Ludwig Göransson, engineer/mixer Derek Ali and mastering engineer Mike Bozzi.

>> On AJC.com: Grammy Awards 2019: Dolly Parton honored by Garth Brooks, Miley Cyrus, Linda Ronstadt and more as MusiCares Person of the Year

Göransson gave a shout-out to rapper 21 Savage – nominated for two awards with Post Malone – who remains in jail after being arrested Super Bowl Sunday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for allegedly living in the U.S. illegally.

“21 Savage should be here tonight,” Göransson said.

The rapper also received support backstage from England’s Dua Lipa.

“It’s quite upsetting that he hasn’t done anything and he’s given so much to American culture, even being a Brit,” she said. 

Matt Sayles/Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Lady Gaga, from left, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez speak at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Lady Gaga, from left, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez speak at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

At the start of the 3 ½-hour telecast from the Staples Center, Keys introduced her “sisters” – Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, former first lady Michelle Obama (who received an enthusiastic standing ovation) and Jennifer Lopez – who flanked her to share their valentines to music.

“Music took my ears, took my hands, my voice and my soul and it led me to all of you,” said Gaga.

“Music is the one place we can all feel truly free,” said Lopez, who would later silence critics with a fiery exhibition of Motown hits with Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo and Keys.

>> On AJC.com: Grammy Awards 2019: William DuVall, Alex Sparrow check out Pre-Grammy lounge

“Every voice we hear deserves to be honored and respected,” added Smith.

And from Obama: “Music helps us share ourselves. Our dignity, sorrows, hopes and joys. Music shows us that all of it matters.”

While at times the show felt a bit overstuffed, its determination to please multiple generations signaled a refreshing representation of veterans to upstarts. A pleasant tribute to Dolly Parton (her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, Musgraves, Little Big Town and Katy Perry); Diana Ross (celebrating her 75th birthday a month early); and a potent memorial to Aretha Franklin (Fantasia, Yolanda Adams and Andra Day singing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”) melded styles and big names.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Janelle Monae didn’t win any awards, but she turned in a memorable performance of “Make Me Feel.”
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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Janelle Monae didn’t win any awards, but she turned in a memorable performance of “Make Me Feel.”

Performance highlights were numerous, with H.E.R. impressing with a fizzy electric guitar melded with a gospel choir on “Hard Place” and Keys’ dual-piano medley of songs she wished she’d written (Roberta Flack, Kings of Leon) resurrecting the familiar. 

One of the only light controversies of the show came when Drake, making a rare Grammy appearance, was cut off during his speech after winning best rap song (“God’s Plan”).

>> Read more trending news 

“This is a business,” he said from the stage. “You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs; if you’re a hero in your hometown; if there’s people who have regular jobs who come out to see you in the rain in the snow – you don’t need this,” he said, holding up his Grammy.

Producers then cut to a commercial. 

The explanation backstage was that Drake had taken a “natural pause,” and producers didn’t realize he was still talking. He was given the opportunity to return to the stage to finish his speech, but, “Drake said he was happy with what he said.”

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A 48 year old woman has been charged with DUI manslaughter for a crash that killed a toddler on a family bicycle ride.  According to the Altamonte Springs Police Department, Shona Wallace, was arrested and charged in connection with with a crash June 2 on State Road 414.   The Zisa family was on a bike ride to help 17-month-old Adalyn fall asleep when deputies say a car jumped the curb and struck the trio, killing the toddler and seriously injuring her parents.   In addition to DUI manslaughter, Wallace is also charged with DUI with serious bodily injury, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • A self-identified California survivalist was sentenced Monday to three consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole, in the murders of a couple sleeping on a beach in 2004, as well as the 2017 murder of his own brother. Shaun Michael Gallon, 40, pleaded no contest last month to the murders of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and Jason Allen, 26, who were shot to death between Aug. 14 and Aug. 16, 2004, as they slept on Fish Head Beach near Jenner in Sonoma County. The case remained unsolved until 2017, when Gallon was accused of using a rifle to kill his younger brother, 36-year-old Shamus Gallon, in the Forestville home they shared with their mother. Following his arrest, Shaun Gallon confessed to the Allen-Cutshall homicides. He pleaded no contest June 13 to all three killings. At the time, Sonoma County officials said there was no apparent motive for Gallon to shoot his brother. “There doesn’t appear to be an altercation of any significance that led to the shooting,” Sgt. Spencer Crum told the Press Democrat. Even prior to his brother’s slaying, Shaun Gallon’s name had long been on law enforcement’s radar. The San Francisco Chronicle reported he was well-known for his erratic behavior, and his rap sheet was a long one. He was convicted in 2009 of assault with a deadly weapon for shooting an arrow at a man in Guerneville, the Chronicle reported. His Facebook page shows multiple photos of homemade bows and arrows, as well as a photo of hiself with a spear he made. “Further, Gallon was also alleged to have attempted to kill a Monte Rio man in June 2004 by using a disguised homemade explosive device, and seriously injuring a second unintended victim when it detonated,” a news release from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office read. Gallon was charged in 2017 with felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as possession of an illegal assault rifle, the district attorney said. The charges to which Gallon pleaded no contest are lengthy, court records show. “There were multiple special allegations and enhancements alleged against Gallon, including that he murdered multiple victims, that he committed great bodily injury on those victims, that he used a firearm to inflict great bodily injury on each of his murder victims and that he had suffered a prior ‘strike’ conviction in 2009 for assault with a deadly weapon,” Ravitch’s news release said. “In his change of pleas, Gallon admitted all charges and enhancements.” Gallon waived all rights of appeal by entering into the plea agreement. Ravitch said the agreement was reached after a review of the records, a review of mitigating material offered by the defense and talks with the victims’ families, as well as the surviving victims of Gallon’s prior crimes. Photos recovered from their camera shows they took photos of one another in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, the newspaper reported. They then headed north in Cutshall’s red 1992 Ford Tempo for the Sonoma coast, where they found themselves in Jenner, a village Allen had visited a few years earlier. Several witnesses, some conflicting, reported seeing the couple along the way as they stopped for gas and other items. A front desk clerk at the Jenner Inn told police the couple showed up there either Friday, Aug. 13, or the following night. Though the couple ate at the inn, there were no available rooms, so they said they would camp outdoors instead, the Chronicle said. The manager, who declined to give her name, said she chatted with the couple again the following morning when they came in for breakfast. “I asked them if they were having fun,” the woman told the newspaper. “They said they stopped in San Francisco. They were just a happy couple trying to get away for the weekend.” Various accounts indicate Allen and Cutshall were told Fish Head Beach would be a good spot to camp, even though it was illegal to sleep on the beach there.  Police believe it was the night of Aug. 14, 2004, when the couple parked Cutshall’s Tempo in a pullout along nearby Highway 1 before setting up their gear on the beach. According to Sonoma magazine, both made notations in a visitor’s log kept near the beach. “As I stir this mac and cheese, I think to myself, ‘What a wonderful life,’” Allen wrote. “I’ve just spent two awesome days with my fiancée, Lindsay. Can life ever be so perfect? Only with a person who is so great. God gives me this privilege in life and He has given me a wonderful woman to enjoy it.” “The sun is going down in the horizon,” Cutshall wrote, according to the magazine. “All I see is the beams shining on the cliff face. And I know that God is awesome. I look around and I see his creation all around me.” Authorities believe the couple was killed, each by a single rifle shot to the head, that night or early the following morning as they slept in their sleeping bags, their Bible nearby. Family and friends grew concerned when the couple had not turned up back at the Christian camp by Sunday. According to the Chronicle, Lindsay was due to fly home a week later to begin planning her wedding. A missing person report was filed Monday, Aug. 16, by friends at the camp. The couple's bodies were found two days later, first spotted by deputies in a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department helicopter sent up to search for a man stuck on a cliff near Jenner, the Chronicle reported. Instead, the spotters saw two bodies in bloodstained sleeping bags. With no apparent motive -- there were no signs of robbery or sexual assault at the scene -- detectives were stymied for years. It would take another 13 years before investigators learned what happened or why. ‘I went crazy’  A Sonoma County Probation Department report, obtained by the Press Democrat, paints a disturbing portrait of Gallon’s life and shows ways in which his family shielded him from arrest before he killed his brother. Gallon’s father, David Gallon, admitted to police he got rid of his son’s guns in 2004, a week after Allen and Cutshall were found slain. Shaun Gallon, who had been arrested on unrelated weapons charges, called his father and asked him to dispose of the weapons. David Gallon told investigators he did so “because he feared (Shaun) Gallon was unstable,” the document says. The records show Shaun Gallon became a potential suspect in the double homicide on the beach after deputies found him near a beach in Guerneville with a loaded, stolen gun in the pocket of his camouflage jumpsuit.
  • President Donald Trump plans to nominate lawyer Eugene Scalia, son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to serve as his next labor secretary, according to an announcement posted Thursday on Twitter. >> Read more trending news  Scalia, 55, is a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he specializes in administrative law and handles cases related to labor and employment, according to The Washington Post and NPR. He previously served as solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor under President George W. Bush. He also served as special assistant to Attorney General William Barr during his previous tenure as Bush's attorney general. 'I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor,' Trump wrote Thursday in a Twitter post.  'Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience working with labor and everyone else.'  Scalia has long represented companies that have pushed back against unions and strengthening labor laws, The New York Times reported. In 2005, he was hired by Walmart after former employees sued the company, claiming they had been illegally fired for whistle-blowing, according to NPR. His nomination is likely to get some pushback from Democrats, though he's expected to be easily confirmed in the Republican-controlled Senate, according to the Times and the Post. If confirmed, Scalia will replace outgoing Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who announced his resignation last week amid criticism of his handling of a secret 2008 plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein. The deal, which came under renewed scrutiny after federal authorities revealed new sex trafficking charges against Epstein last week, allowed the 66-year-old to avoid significant jail time and federal prosecution after he was accused of molesting teenage girls. Acosta's deputy, Patrick Pizzella, will serve as acting secretary of labor after his resignation goes into effect Friday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shared photos of Bago the manatee’s return to the wild.  The 800-pounder was rescued from the cold waters of Lake Griffin State Park in January. He spent the last six months recovering from stress at SeaWorld's Marine Animal Rescue in Orlando Central Florida News 13 reported that the sea cow was hesitant to leave the plush environment and go back to the wild.  App users click here to see the video.  Officials eventually were able to get Bago to cooperate and released him in the St. Johns River near Palatka.  But not before he was fitted  with a tracking device so that researchers can follow his progress.
  • A cruise line worker is accused of trying to smuggle himself out of the U.S. in a case that spans from Port Canaveral to the Canadian border. Investigators said Kenyan national Fuwad Nassir was barely on the job two weeks when he jumped ship. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Nassir told Canadian officials he was seeking asylum Nassir saw a judge Thursday afternoon, but it's not clear who will prosecute this case. It could be the Brevard or Seminole State Attorney's Office or the statewide prosecutor. With a half-million-dollar bond, Nassir isn't likely to be going anywhere anytime soon. Nassir was in a Brevard County courtroom Thursday, facing a charge of conspiracy to commit human smuggling after investigators said he deserted his position aboard the Carnival Liberty at Port Canaveral back in October in violation of his visa. FDLE said he then caught a ride with an in-law who flew into Florida from Utah to pick him up and drove him to New York state, where he attempted to cross into Canada by way of the Rainbow Bridge point of entry.  Officials there refused him entry and turned Nassir over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He remained in federal detention until his return to Brevard County.  Carnival Cruise Lines officials said the company would not comment specifically on this case. 

Washington Insider

  • A day after distancing himself from a campaign rally crowd which chanted, 'Send her back' about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), President Donald Trump on Friday had more tough words for Omar from the Oval Office, making it clear he's not backing away from his criticism of a group of minority women Democratic lawmakers in the Congress. 'I'm unhappy when a Congresswoman goes and says, 'I'm going to be the President's nightmare,'' Mr. Trump said on Friday, as he called those attending his North Carolina campaign rally, 'incredible people and incredible patriots.' 'She's lucky to be where she is,' the President said of Omar, who called Mr. Trump a 'fascist' on Thursday. 'The things that she has said are a disgrace to our country,' the President added. Just as the President hasn't backed off his criticism of Omar, who emigrated to the U.S. from Somalia as a child, the freshmen from Minnesota hasn't pulled any punches with Mr. Trump in recent days. 'We have said this President is racist,' Omar told reporters outside the Capitol on Thursday. 'We have said he is fascist.' As Omar arrived back in Minneapolis, a crowd of supporters greeted her at the airport 'When I said I was the president's nightmare, well you're watching it now,” Omar told a cheering crowd. “Because his nightmare is seeing a Somali-immigrant refugee rise to Congress,” she added. Some Republicans have joined the President in going after Omar, especially targeting her positions on Israel. 'When will the Left condemn this rank anti-Semitism and take some responsibility?' said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). 'It’s official - Omar is a loon & utterly ignorant of history,' tweeted former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.