Grammys: Gay marriage takes centre stage

 
Thirty-three couples are married by Queen Latifah during the Grammy Awards show on January 26, 2014. A mass wedding has become the most talked about moment of the 2014 Grammys

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The 56th Grammy Awards were held last night, and while there were no twerking incidents to stir controversy, a planned marriage ceremony for 34 gay and straight couples officiated by Queen Latifah in the middle of the rap by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis about marriage equality (with a cameo by Madonna) had people talking.

"It was a brave move by the rap duo who are just experiencing their first flush of fame, but it showed the Seattle based duo are serious about using their profile to push a progressive message," writes the New York Post's Hardeep Phull. "It's something that pop stars seldom do for fear of losing fans, but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis showed that they have guts as well as talent."

Start Quote

Entertainers never want to have a debate, just a series of arrogant 'statements' with no opportunity for a conversation as they flush the Bible on national TV”

End Quote Tim Graham Media Research Center

Actress/producer/director Elizabeth Banks tweeted that the performance "just changed the big world a little for the better".

Bustle's Lindsay Mannering wrote: "When Madonna, dressed in a white tuxedo with a white cane and cowboy hat emerged, it was hard not to push out your lips and think aloud to no one in the room, 'yeah, this is pretty cool'."

Reaction to the performance wasn't universally positive, however, with criticism coming from several directions.

The conservative Media Research Center's Tim Graham took offence at the social criticism in Macklemore's rap, calling it "a piece of musical agitprop to mock the traditional values of conservative American Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others. Entertainers never want to have a debate, just a series of arrogant 'statements' with no opportunity for a conversation as they flush the Bible on national TV."

Others wondered about the self-consciousness in the lyrics of Macklemore's rap, Same Love.

"For a pro gay song, this sure does feature a lot of Macklemore clarifying that he's straight," tweeted Ronan Farrow.

The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri agreed:

Mary Lambert, Madonna, Ryan Lewis and Macklemore performed a song about how Macklemore Believes In Gay Rights And Can Lecture You On Intolerance Because When He Was In Third Grade He Thought He Was Gay (But He Wasn't Though) But, Like, The Point Is, He Gets It (Repeat: The Mack Has Always Liked Girls) while 34 couples (gay and straight) were married by Queen Latifah.

The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern called the number "downright offensive", for which he blamed the airing network, CBS.

"Unfortunately, those watching at home didn't get to see any of the gay couples actually kiss since CBS - in a baffling decision - pulled away the cameras, choosing to instead focus on Madonna fumbling about with a cane while mumbling the words to Open Your Heart," he writes.

Of course, the broadcast wasn't all gay marriage and rapping for equality. There were other moments to get folks worked up into a lather. Katy Perry and Juicy J, for instance, had a goth-inspired performance of Dark Horse that the Blaze's Wilson Garrett called an "alternate reality where Voldemort won and Hermione became an evil stripper."

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Nice to see someone put on a show all generations can be mortified by together”

End Quote James Poniewozik Time magazine

The night was filled with what now has become a regular progression of new and old stars billed as "Grammy moments", with varying levels of success.

The Los Angeles Times's Mikael Wood called them "better than usual", and singled out Stevie Wonder's collaboration with the robot-garb-clad French group Daft Punk (the big award winners of the night) as particularly noteworthy.

Wil Cifer of Soletron writes that sets were "forced collaborations" that "were painfully awkward":

Chicago sounded like they belonged on a cruise ship. Madonna looked like she was trying to hide her age by paling herself out beyond belief, and the pimp cane seemed like a walker. Lindsey Buckingham's guitar sounded great with Nine Inch Nails, but his singing didn't mesh.

In the end, there was something in the three-hour-plus show for everyone to love - or hate.

As Time magazine media critic James Poniewozik tweeted: "Nice to see someone put on a show all generations can be mortified by together."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    A male and female of different races can naturally have a child
    A same sex couple cannot naturally have a child

    LucyJ, why is this the criteria for who is allowed to be married? Very few groups only associate marriage with procreation. As you yourself say...toally different issue.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    "they flush the Bible on national TV."

    So what? Decent folk don't care what you do with your silly bibles. If your bible preaches hate, it DESERVES to be flushed down a big smelly toilet!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 17.

    @LucyJ interracial marriage and same sex marriage is the same issue. You are born homosexual or straight the same way that you are born with white skin or black skin. Discriminating against people because of who they love is wrong whether your intolerance is based on race or sexuality.
    I hope in 50 years we will look at this intolerance in the same way as we now do segregation.
    Love is love.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    I beleive in Live and Let Live.
    although i find it was a cheap and unimpressive spectacle to be married on the Grammys.
    Would you want your union consecrated by Queen Latifah???

    there are other ways of gaining media notoriety than a mass wedding act on prime time tv. this stinks of a cheap stunt deigned to gain the attention of people world wide and to what end????

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 15.

    A person is born gay - therefore they have the absolute right for that the be respected and not discriminated against.

    A person makes a conscious choice about their religion and therefore dow NOT have the right for that not to be mocked nor to have their views override the rights of others

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 14.

    It doesn't really concern me what others do & as long as nobody is getting hurt - whats the problem?

    Live & let live.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 13.

    Maybe the gay community should look to do what the extreme right wing christian Tea Party have done, infiltrate Republicanism & change it from within

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    RADIO APPLAUS was the first station, which had the wedding in live broadcast, more information you can find on http://www.radioapplaus.com/784_Svatba-v-zivem-vysilani-RADIA-APPLAUS or http://youtu.be/wl1ykjH2dlA

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 11.

    LucyJ -
    "It is disappointing how liberals want the Grammys to be political
    especially when its such a polaring issue that divides Americans"

    And it's disappointing how 'conservatives' want the news and media in general to be political and intolerant, especially when it's such a polarizing issue.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 10.

    "they flush the Bible on national TV."

    so the religious can build a church anywhere they want. they can pray at any time, they can read the bible anywhere, they can have a tv show if they can afford it, they can build their own schools if they're accredited. and no one is going to come and tell them they can't do that. sounds great. so why is that not enough? why force your bible on me?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 9.

    LucyJ
    pro-creation has nothing to do with the issue.

    Martin is correct: "I think the US has seen that such bans are both unconstitutional and valueless."

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 8.

    "they flush the Bible on national TV."

    Okay... How does conducting a civil marriage ceremony denigrate the Bible? Anyhow, if this bloke wants a conversation about gay marriage, maybe he should figure out the religious sacrament of marriage is not the same thing as the state's recognition of marriage. It's pretty darn fundamental to the discussion.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 7.

    @2: what about the millions of Americans that supported slavery? What about the millions that just can't stand those damn blacks? The USA belonged/belongs to them, too.

    History will view this as it does all other civil rights issues; in 50 years, your outlook will be seen as no different than Apartheid.

    How dare two consenting adults be allowed to proclaim their love for one another...

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 6.

    "What about the millions of Americans who do not support gay marriage?"

    You are completely free not to marry someone of the same sex.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 5.

    Martin: When I was growing up interracial marriage was against the law in many states

    Interracial marriage is two different races marrying
    Gay marriage is two people of same sex marrying

    Not the same issue

    A male and female of different races can naturally have a child
    A same sex couple cannot naturally have a child

    So the two can simply not be compared

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 4.

    The Grammy performance reminded me of Obama sending Billie Jean King to Russia Olympics because she is gay which is a political statement as Billie is a tennis player who has never played in the Winter Olympics

    Regardless of Obama's beliefs, it is wrong for him to try to turn Olympics into political event

    Politics should not be involved in Grammys or Olympics

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 3.

    @LucyJ,

    When I was growing up interracial marriage was against the law in many states. Many people did not support the changes that allowed interracial marriages either. I think the US has seen that such bans are both unconstitutional and valueless.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 2.

    What about the millions of Americans who do not support gay marriage?

    USA belongs to us too and we are not just suddenly going to go away

    If anything, this means we have to stick to our beliefs more than ever before

    It is disappointing how liberals want the Grammys to be political
    especially when its such a polaring issue that divides Americans

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1.

    Meanwhile the mayor of Sochi has banned all rebroadcasts of the Grammys since "there are no gay people in Sochi".

 

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