Tina Turner—the legendary entertainer who rose to fame as a rock/R&B singer in the 1960s, and who had a spectacular comeback in the 1980s—died in her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, on May 23, 2023. She was 83. The Associated Press reports that her manager announced the news of Turner’s death.
In the 2010s, Turner experienced a number of health issues, including a stroke, cancer recovery and a kidney transplant. She detailed these challenges, as well as other things in her life, in her 2018 memoir “My Love Story.” In her 1986 memoir, “I, Tina,” Turner famously told details about abuse she experienced from musician Ike Turner, who was her husband from 1962 to 1978. The spouses rose to fame as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, with hits such as 1960’s “A Fool in Love,” 1971’s “Proud Mary” and 1973’s “Nutbush City Limits.” (Ike Turner died of a cocaine overdose in 2007. He was 76.)
Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2021, Tina Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act. She was one of the few female artists to get more than one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Tina Turner’s raw singing voice, her uninhibited dancing style on stage, her wigs and her famous legs became her trademarks as a performer. She influenced countless artists, including Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin and Beyoncé.
Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Brownsville, Tennessee, on November 26, 1939. After her marriage to Ike Turner ended, she spent much of the late 1970s performing in nightclubs and the cabaret circuit. After signing with then-manager Roger Davies and getting a new record deal with EMI/Capitol Records in the early 1980s, Tina Turner had a big comeback with her 1984 album “Private Dancer,” which had the hits “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “Better Be Good to Me” and the title track.
Tina Turner won every major award that a singer could win, including 12 Grammys. Her life was made into a movie: 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” starring Angela Bassett, who received an Oscar nomination for her role as Tina Turner. Tina Turner’s life was also the subject of the stage musical “Tina,” which played on the West End in 2018 and on Broadway in 2019. Adrienne Warren won a Tony Award for her starring role in “Tina.”
And although she was most famous as a singer, Tina Turner also took on some acting roles, most notably as the Acid Queen in the 1975 rock musical “Tommy” and as Auntie Entity in the 1985 sci-fi sequel “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.” Her last major interview was for the 2021 HBO documentary “Tina.”
Tina Turner had two biological sons who are now deceased: Craig (her son with saxophonist Raymond Hill) died of suicide at the age of 59 in 2018. Her son Ronald (from her marriage to Ike Turner) was 62 when he died from colon cancer complications in 2022. She has two adopted stepsons named Ike Jr. and Michael, who are Ike Sr.’s sons from a previous marriage.
Tina Turner is survived by her second husband Erwin Bach, a former music executive, who is a native of Germany. The couple married in 2013, after being romantic partners since 1986.
Harry Belafonte, a legendary entertainer and activist, died of congestive heart failure at his New York City home on April 25, 2023. He was 96. According to the Associated Press, Belafonte’s publicist said that Belafonte’s wife Pamela Frank Belafonte was by his side at the time of his death.
Belafonte was born in New York City on March 1, 1927. His birth name was Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. His parents were Jamaican immigrants. Harold George Bellanfanti Sr. was a chef. His mother Melvine Bellanfanti was a housekeeper. From 1932 to 1940, Belafonte lived in Jamaica with one of his grandmothers, which is why Belafonte had a slight but noticeable Jamaican accent when he spoke.
In the 1950s, his first claim to fame in the entertainment business was as a singer. His most well-known hits were “Matilda,” “Banana Boat Song” and “Jamaica Farewell.” Belafonte, along with his longtime friend Sidney Poitier, were among the first black men to have starring roles in major motion pictures. Belafonte’s breakthrough movie role was in 1954’s “Carmen Jones.” Some of his other famous films included 1974’s “Uptown Saturday Night” and 2018’s “BlacKkKlansman.”
He stepped away from acting in the 1960s to focus on his music career and civil rights activism. His last movie appearance was being interviewed in the 2022 Netflix documentary “Is That Black Enough for You?!?,” which chronicled African American-oriented movies from 1968 to 1978. Belafonte also made several appearances on television, most notably winning a Primetime Emmy Award (Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series) in 1960, for the 1959 TV special “Tonight With Belafonte.” He was the first black person to win an Emmy Award.
Belafonte and Poitier were outspoken activists in the U.S. civil rights movement. The two friends would have occasional periods of estrangement because of their different opinions on civil rights movement strategies. Belafonte said in many interviews over the years that he believed in more progressive political ideals, while Poitier was more conservative. Other causes that Belafonte supported in his life included anti-war efforts, feminism and LGBTQ rights. Belafonte was also a prominent humanitarian who supported the African American Students Foundation, the TransAfrica Forum and the Institute for Policy Studies, among many other groups aimed at helping those who are disadvantaged.
Belafonte received several accolades in his life, including three Grammy Awards, one Emmy Award and one Tony Award. In 1989, he was feted at the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1994, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2014, he received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In 2022, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and became the oldest living person to be inducted.
Belafonte was married three times and had four children. He and first wife, Marguerite Byrd, were married from 1948 to 1957, with the marriage ending in divorce. They had two daughters: Adrienne and Shari. Belafonte’s marriage to second wife Julie Robinson (a former dancer) lasted from 1957 to 2004. Their children David and Gina were born from that marriage, which also ended in divorce. Belafonte’s widow, Pamela (a former photographer), married him in 2008.
Culture Representation: Taking place in France, from the 1750s to the 1790s, the dramatic film “Chevalier” (a biopic of musician/fencer Joseph Bologne, also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges) features a predominantly white group of people (with a few black people) representing the working-class, middle-class and royalty.
Culture Clash: Bologne experiences racism, an illicit love affair and treacherous politics in his journey to becoming a celebrated musician and fencer.
Culture Audience: “Chevalier” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of history-based biopics and classical music and don’t mind if a movie set in 1700s France has some modern touches that didn’t exist in that century.
“Chevalier” has its share of corny “only in a movie” moments, but the essential truths of oppression and racial barriers in society have the most resonance in this story. Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives an admirable performance. The costume designs are gorgeous. You don’t have to be fan of classical music to enjoy the movie, but it certainly helps. History purists will be wincing through some of the story, because it’s yet another biopic that takes liberties with facts, in order to make the movie more dramatic.
Directed by Stephen Williams and written by Stefani Robinson (who is one of the producers of the movie), “Chevalier” (which takes place in France, mostly in Paris) tells the story of Joseph Bologne, also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who lived from 1745 to 1799. He the first black person to conduct a major orchestra in France. He was also renowned for being a champion fencer. The movie depicts Joseph mostly in his 20s, 30s and 40s, but there are flashback scenes to his teens and younger childhood. “Chevalier” had its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie tells viewers right from the beginning that Joseph (played as an underage teen and as an adult by Harrison) was so phenomenal, he outshone Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (played by Joseph Prowen) in concert. The opening scene shows Mozart conducting an orchestra in Paris, sometime in the 1780s, and asking the audience for requests. Joseph confidently strolls into the concert hall and asks to play the violin alongside Mozart.
Mozart looks slightly amused and asks, “Who put you up to this?” Joseph says, “Myself, monsieur.” Mozart calls Joseph a “dark stranger” and smugly says, “I hope this won’t be too embarrassing for you.” They proceed to play the violin, as if it’s a dueling competition of musicianship.
And in the end, Mozart is the one who’s embarrassed, as Joseph proves that he’s the more talented violinist. Joseph is so masterful, the crowd gives him a standing ovation. An infuriated Mozart runs off stage and fumes, “Who the fuck was that?” Clearly, “Chevalier” is not a movie that wants to look historically accurate.
This scene is a perfect example of how “Chevalier” tries but doesn’t always succeed in balancing hokey drama with regal gravitas. It’s a movie with a lot of 1700s pomp and circumstance, but with a modern approach to melodrama that takes viewers out of this time period, especially in a lot of the dialogue that sounds too contemporary. The movie’s messages about racism sometimes get bogged down in too much exposition, but luckily the cast is talented enough to elevate the material.
If some of the scenes in “Chevalier” look over-the-top and fabricated for a movie, that’s because the real life of Bologne did not get a lot of historical documentation. However, you don’t have to be a historian or a classical music expert to know that the opening scene definitely looks fake. Mozart running off stage in humiliation because of a newcomer rival—if it happened in real life—would have gone down in history as one of the most notorious stories about him.
What the movie does depict that is historically accurate is that at the age of 7, Joseph (played by Reuben Anderson) was taken by his white French American father to live in France, where Joseph was educated and lived for the rest of his life. Joseph’s father was a wealthy plantation owner named Georges de Bologne Saint-Georges, and his mother was an enslaved black woman named Nanon, who was originally from Senegal. In real life, Georges de Bologne Saint-Georges lived in the Caribbean archipelago Guadeloupe, which was a colony of France at the time.
The “Chevalier” movie changes the location of Joseph’s birthplace from Guadeloupe to Louisiana. His father’s name has the English-language spelling of George Bologne (played by Jim High), a French American who spends time at his plantations in Louisiana and Guadeloupe. Joseph’s mother Nanon (played by Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo) is depicted as being originally from Senegal and brought to North America in enslavement, just like in real life. The “Chevalier” filmmakers perhaps made Joseph have a connection to Louisiana because Harrison is American, and his American accent can be heard in much of the dialogue.
Before abandoning his son in France at the private Academie de La Boëssière, George instills the belief in Joseph that Joseph must be the best at anything he does if he is going to survive and succeed. The academy’s owner Tessier de La Boëssière (played by Ben Bradshaw) reluctantly enrolls Joseph in the school and warns George that Joseph people at the school will not be kind to this “Negro bastard.” In real life, Joseph had an older white half-brother named Pierre (they had the same father), who was already enrolled at the academy when Joseph was admitted as a sudent. However, the “Chevalier” movie erases Pierre, probably to make it look more dramatic that Joseph felt isolated by not knowing any at the academy as a new student.
“Chevalier” shows the expected racist bullying that Joseph received throughout his life. But the movie also shows how he achieved greatness, despite many obstacles put in his way. Expect to see several montages of him practicing his music or fencing, as if his life depended on it, because in many ways, his life really did depend on it. Joseph eventually became well-known for his talents and got respect from members of high society.
This notoriety resulted in a volatile friendship with the fun-loving but very spoiled Marie Antoinette (played by Lucy Boynton), the queen of France, who introduced him to powerful members of her inner circle. This inner circle includes Marie’s cousin Philippe (played by Alex Fitzalan), the Duke of Orleans. Philippe becomes Joseph’s close confidant, and their friendship leads to an important political alliance.
As already revealed in the trailer for “Chevalier,” Nanon reunites with Joseph around the time that he becomes a famous musician and a champion fencer. The reunion doesn’t go smoothly at first, because Nanon represents a part of Joseph’s life that he wants to keep in the past. Eventually, Nanaon and Joseph become close when he begins to understand that he should embrace and appreciate his African American heritage.
“Chevalier” is not subtle in its messages about how black people who achieve success in a predominantly white culture have to decide how much “black culture” will be part of their identity when interacting with white people. The way that Joseph chooses to wear his hair in public (African-styled cornrow braids or European-made wigs) is a manifestation/symbol about how much of his “black” or “white” identity that he wants to express.
Some of the best aspects of “Chevalier” have to do with Joseph confronting his “assimilation” into white French society and what that assimilation will cost him, in terms of his self-respect, his relationship with his mother and his career. Joseph has to deal with constant condescension from white people who think that Joseph will never be equal to them, simply because he is not white. Marie Antoinette often treats him like “charity case” who needs her and other white people to “save” him. At one point, Joseph assertively says to her: “Not everything is about you people.”
The movie’s strongest non-musical scenes are those between Joseph and the women in his life: his kind and patient mother Nanon, his unpredictable friend Marie Antoinette, and his conflicted lover Marie-Josephine (played by Samara Weaving), an opera singer who is an unhappy marriage to a cruel and wealthy man named Marquis De Montalembert (played by Marton Csokas). Marie-Josephine was the one who introduced Joseph to her husband, who could immediately sense that there was an attraction between her and Joseph. Privately, Marquis De Montalembert tells Joseph (who has a reputation for being a ladies’ man) that he doesn’t “wish for my Marie-Josephine to become a whore.”
Joseph also has to navigate the power and politics of getting investments for an original opera that he is composing and plans to conduct. Marie-Josephine’s cousin La Guimard (played by Minnie Driver), who is a rich opera singer, expresses interest in being an investor, but she enjoys manipulating Joseph, because she knows she has the financial upper hand. Joseph ends up wanting Marie-Josephine to be the star of his opera. Marquis De Montalembert doesn’t want Marie-Josephine to take the job, for obvious reasons.
Another affluent potential investor is Madame De Genlis (played by Sian Clifford), who believes in Joseph’s talent, but she wants some creative control that he’s reluctant to give. She says she will finance the opera if he bases it on a story that she wrote. Observant viewers will notice that no matter how exceptional Joseph can be, it causes resentment among racist people who will use any excuse to try to tear him down.
“Chevalier” does not make Joseph look like a saint. He can be stubborn and arrogant to a fault. His affair with Marie-Josephine is an example of his selfish recklessness. And even though Joseph thinks he loves Marie-Josephine, it’s pretty obvious that people will get very hurt by this love affair. The movie takes an abrupt turn into some melodrama that comes as a result of this extramarital relationship.
Despite some cringeworthy lines of dialogue in “Chevalier” and occasionally slow pacing of the movie, Harrison holds everything together and keeps things watchable in his intriguing portrayal of this complex character. Boynton has some memorable moments in her performance as the imperious and fickle queen Marie Antoinette. The movie’s costume design by Oliver García and production design by Karen Murphy are truly feasts for the eyes.
The music of “Chevalier” is also noteworthy, including a vibrant original score by Kris Bowers and production and musical arrangements of Bologne’s music by Michael Abels. In terms of overall storytelling, “Chevalier” is no masterpiece. However, the movie has enough compelling moments and good acting to maintain viewer interest in this very dramatic version of an extraordinary and talented life.
Searchlight Pictures released “Chevalier” in U.S. cinemas on April 21, 2023.
Culture Representation: Taking place in various U.S. cities, the documentary film “Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music” has a racially diverse group of people (white and black with a few of Asian heritage) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy telling personal stories of how people are affected by music.
Culture Clash: Some of the fans who are in the documentary talk about sometimes being misunderstood about their passion for certain music or artists.
Culture Audience: “Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the documentary’s featured artists (Indigo Girls, Vijay Iyer and Talib Kweli) and movies about artists’ connections to their most devoted admirers.
Depending on your interest in the music genres of rock, jazz, classical and hip-hop, “Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music” will either keep you interested or not have much appeal at all. This occasionally uneven documentary mostly achieves what it intended in its title. The first third of the movie is upbeat but predictable. The second third is boring and forgettable. The last third is the most dynamic and informative section of the film.
Directed by Kathleen Ermitage, “Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music” (her feature-film directorial debut) starts off looking like a movie that’s about artists who’ve developed a friendship with a particularly devoted fan of theirs. That’s essentially what viewers see in the first section of the film (featuring folk/rock duo Indigo Girls) and the second section of the film (featuring jazz/classical music composer Vijay Iyer). It isn’t until the third and last section of the film (featuring hip-hop artist Talib Kweli) that this documentary transcends the repetitive scenes of artists and fans gushing over each other, and instead showcases what one fan is doing to incorporate hip-hop music into teaching children about architecture.
In the Indigo Girls section of the movie, a Denver-based superfan named Dylan Yellowlees talks a lot about how much her life revolves around Indigo Girls, whose members are singer/guitarist Amy Ray and singer/guitarist Emily Saliers. Ray and Saliers, who both hail from Georgia’s Atlanta and Decatur metropolitan areas, have known each other since elementary school, and they have been performing together since they were in high school. Indigo Girls’ first album, “Strange Fire,” was released in 1987. At the time this documentary was filmed, Yellowlees said she had seen Indigo Girls in concert more than 350 times. Yellowlees, who describes herself as being in the same Generation X age group as Indigo Girls, also discusses at length how Indigo Girls coming out as lesbians also helped Yellowlees in her own journey of coming out as a lesbian.
Yellowlees, just like many Indigo Girls fans, first discovered Indigo Girls because of the duo’s 1989 breakthrough hit song “Closer to Fine,” from Indigo Girls’ self-titled second album. Yellowlees describes how seeing the “Closer to Fine” video on VH1 made a big impact on her. Yellowlees says she was in college when she first heard “Closer to Fine,” around the same time of the civilian protests that turned deadly in China’s Tiananmen Square. The uplifting lyrics of “Closer to Fine” resonated with her on a deep level and helped give her a political awakening to stand up more for human rights, says Yellowlees. And if anyone cares, Yellowlees reveals that her favorite Indigo Girls song is “Go,” which Ray says in the documentary is a song inspired by feminist writer Meridel Le Sueur.
The documentary’s Indigo Girls section tends to be formulaic in showing Yellowlees attending Indigo Girls concerts and talking about how great she thinks Indigo Girls are. Yellowlees mentions that some people in her life haven’t understood why she spends so much time traveling to various cities to see Indigo Girls perform. Yellowlees comments, “I used to have a boss that was like, ‘I don’t understand why you go and see the same band all the time. Isn’t it the same?'”
Yellowlees continues, “And in his case, he was a fisherman, and he went fishing every weekend. So I was like, ‘You go stand in a river every weekend. Isn’t that the same?’ He’s like, ‘Hey, I understand. It’s the thing that brings me joy.'”
She further explains why Indigo Girls mean so much to her: “Being of the same generation as Indigo Girls, and probably having some shared experiences, it makes that music feel really important. It feels personal. It feels like a part of my life. It feels like it’s part of my story.” And before social media existed, Yellowlees says that going to Indigo Girls concerts was a great way for her to meet other lesbians and queer-friendly people. “Back then, it really was a way to find your people,” Yellowlees comments.
And what do Indigo Girls think of Yellowlees? Ray says that Yellowlees “has become a friend … and is not weird about it. It’s an honest appreciation of what we’re doing.” Saliers (who says she got to know Yellowlees better when Saliers did a solo tour) comments that she’s still amazed that Yellowlees shows the same enthusiasm for Indigo Girls concerts as she has over the several decades that they have been performing. “I feel like it’s an honor that she’s the fan in the way that she is,” Saliers mentions. “She’s smart and interesting.”
Unfortunately, the documentary doesn’t dig much deeper into why Yellowlees is such a special Indigo Girls fan, other than the number of times that she has seen Indigo Girls in concert. A lot of Indigo Girls fans can claim that Indio Girls changed their lives. Ermitage and the other “Mixtape Trilogy” filmmakers needed to show or tell examples of why Indigo Girls consider Yellowlees to be a “friend.”
In a world where celebrities have hangers-on and people who follow them around, what exactly does it mean when Ray says that Yellowlees “has become a friend”? Does that mean a relationship that goes beyond an artist giving free concert tickets to a fan? Do Indigo Girls share private information with Yellowlees, or ask for her advice? The documentary never answers any of those questions and doesn’t give details further details about this friendship
In the documentary’s segment on Iyer, there’s no such ambiguity about the friendship that developed between Iyer and essayist/scholar Garnette Cadogan, who are both based in New York City. Iyer (who has been releasing albums since 1995) describes initially being skeptical and wary when Cadogan approached him for a series of interviews. Both men say in the documentary that these interviews turned into deeply personal conversations about their lives and led to a strong friendship between Iyer and Cadogan.
Iyer says these pivotal conversations, “He got me to a point that no one has ever gotten me, in terms of just being real, just being honest, and basically revealing things that I had never admitted to myself.” Cadogan explains why he became interested in Iyer as an artist and as a person: “He spent a lot of time thinking about, ‘What does this music mean,’ not just as sound but as identity.”
The documentary shows Cadogan spending more time than Iyer does talking about himself and his background. Cadogan calls himself a “man of the streets,” because of his passion for taking strolls on the streets where he lives and travels. Cadogan says he developed this passion when he was a child growing up in Jamaica, where he had an abusive stepfather and a loving mother and grandmother. He would spend a lot of time wandering around streets to avoid going home to the abuse that his stepfather inflicted on him.
Why this segment so dull? Ilyer and Cadogan say that they identify as activists, but the documentary doesn’t really show any of this activism. Instead, there’s just the expected footage of Ilyer performing with his band, and Cadogan sometimes watching as an admiring audience member. It’s all very lackluster and uninteresting.
As a self-described “man of the streets,” Cadogan isn’t shown in the documentary doing any real activism on the streets. Cadogan and Ilyer just seem more like academics who approach things in an intellectual manner but don’t really seem to be in touch with street culture activism. If they are, Cadogan and Ilyer give the impression in this documentary that they keep a safe distance from it.
The documentary’s segment on New York City-based Kweli (whose full name is Talib Kweli Greene) curiously doesn’t show any type of “we’ve become friends” interaction between him and his “superfan” Michael “Mike” Ford, who is an architect. It’s a very disjointed segment where part of it is Kweli talking about his life, while the other part is about Ford talking about his life.
Kweli (who has been releasing music since the late 1990s) is the least candid of the three featured artists in the documentary, because he doesn’t reveal anything that people can’t already find out about him by looking at his Wikipedia page or other information on the Internet. Ford is a fan of Kweli, but he isn’t as obsessive about Kweli as Yellowlees is about Indigo Girls. Ford and Kweli also don’t appear to know each other as friends, based on what’s in this documentary.
The most fascinating and best part of the documentary is how it shows Ford taking his love of hip-hop, doing an analysis of the lyrics, and using that analysis to turn it into architecture models. Ford mentions that when he was growing up in Detroit, he and his sisters discovered hip-hop because their family lived in an apartment above a nightclub that played hip-hop. Ford says that he was about 6 or 7 years old when he became a hip-hop fan.
Ford (who calls himself the Hip-Hop Architect) began a program called Hip-Hop Architecture Camp that he takes to various cities around the United States, in order to teach young people (ranging in ages from 4 years old to late teens) how to use hip-hop in creating architecture. This entertainment/educational program includes the students creating architectural models and their own original hip-hop songs at the end of each program. “Mixtape Trilogy” includes an impressive montage showing clips of music videos that were made of these original songs.
Most of the children who attend Hip-Hop Architecture Camp are underprivileged African Americans. Ford says he saw a need for this program as a way to bring more diversity to people who might become architects someday. “I have never seen something more unifying than hip-hop,” Ford comments in the documentary. Ford also gets candid in “Mixtape Trilogy” about the up-and-down journey that he and his wife, Gail Ford, have had in starting their own family.
“Mixtape Trilogy” has a very good concept that isn’t presented consistently in the documentary’s three segments. A few of the production elements are amateurish, such as in a scene where part of a boom microphone can be seen during an interview, or when the documentary’s sound mixing sounds a little rough. However, this movie does an admirable job of conveying the happiness that people get from the music that is the soundtrack of their lives, as well as showing how that joy and appreciation can be shared with other people.
1091 Pictures released “Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music” on digital and VOD on February 7, 2023.
With eight prizes, including Outstanding Motion Picture, Marvel Studios’ superhero blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was the top winner at the 54th annual NAACP Image Awards. Hosted by Queen Latifah, the televised award show was held on February 25, 2023, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. BET had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was simulcast on several other Paramount Global Networks-owned TV networks, including CBS, MTV, MTV2, VH1, Logo, Paramount, BET Her, CMT, Pop, Comedy Central, Smithsonian Channel, Pluto TV, and TV Land. It was the first NAACP Image Awards show that was held in front of a live, in-person audience since 2020. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) selected the nominees, while the winners in the competitive categories were voted for online by the general public.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was the leading contender going into the ceremony, by having the most nominations (12) before the winners were announced. In addition to winning Outstanding Motion Picture, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” won awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (for Angela Bassett); Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (for Tenoch Huerta); Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture; Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (for Ryan Coogler); Outstanding Costume Design (for Ruth E. Carter); Outstanding Hairstyling (for Camille Friend); Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album. On a related note, Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” (from the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack) was awarded Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album, which is a prize that goes to the artist (Rihanna) and video director (Autumn Durald Arkapaw), not the makers of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Other winners of multiple awards included Bassett, who won three prizes: In addition to her “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” award, she won the prizes for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (for her role in Fox’s “9-1-1”) and Entertainer of the Year. This was the first time in NAACP Image Awards history that all of the Entertainer of the Year nominees were women. Beyoncé, who had five nominations, won three of those awards: Outstanding Album (for “Renaissance”); Outstanding Soul/R&B Song (for “Cuff It”); and Outstanding Female Artist.
ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” had nine nominations and ended up winning six prizes: Outstanding Comedy Series; Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (for Quinta Brunson); Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (for Tyler James Williams); Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (for Janelle James); Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (for Brittani Nichols); and Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television), for Brunson.
Starz’s “P-Valley” was nominated for six prizes and won three: Outstanding Drama Series; Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (for Nicco Annan); and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (for Loretta Devine). Also winning three prizes (from seven nominations) was Peacock’s “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” which garnered the awards for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special (for Morris Chestnut); and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special (for Nia Long).
Presentations of untelevised categories were livestreamed from February 20 to February 24, 2023, on the NAACP Image Awards website. On February 24, 2023, the NAACP had a pre-telecast awards program and dinner in Los Angeles. Hosted by Bresha Webb, the event gave recognition to nominees and previously announced winners. The NAACP Imahe Awards added new categories (all non-televised) in 2023: Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Hairstyling and Outstanding Make-Up. The award for Outstanding Make-Up was won by Debi Young, Sandra Linn, Ngozi Olandu Young and Gina Bateman of the HBO miniseries “We Own This City.”
The televised ceremony also gave a spotlight to honorees in non-competitive categories, where the honorees were selected by the NAACP and announced several days in advance of the show. The Chairman’s Award was given to Congressman Bennie G. Thompson. The President’s Award went to Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwyane Wade. The Social Justice Impact Award was given to Benjamin Crump. The Jackie Robinson Sports Award went to Serena Williams. In non-televised parts of the ceremony, other prizes in non-competitive categories included Activist of the Year (Dr. Derrick L. Forward); Youth Activist of the Year (Bradley Ross Jackson); NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award (Nabiha Syed); and The Vanguard Award (Bethann Hardison).
Here is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2023 NAACP Image Awards:
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Mary J. Blige
MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES
Outstanding Motion Picture
A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)*
Emancipation (Apple TV)
The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Daniel Kaluuya – Nope (Universal Pictures)
Jonathan Majors – Devotion (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Joshua Boone – A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown – Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. (Focus Features)
Will Smith – Emancipation (Apple)*
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Danielle Deadwyler – Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
Keke Palmer – Alice (Vertical Entertainment)
Letitia Wright – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
Regina Hall – Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. (Focus Features)
Viola Davis – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)*
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Aldis Hodge – Black Adam (Warner Bros. Pictures / New Line Cinema)
Cliff “Method Man” Smith – On the Come Up (Paramount Pictures)
Jalyn Hall – Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
John Boyega – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Tenoch Huerta – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)*
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)*
Danai Gurira – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
Janelle Monáe – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Lashana Lynch – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Lupita Nyong’o – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
Breaking (Bleecker Street)
Causeway (Apple TV)
Mr. Malcolm’s List (Bleecker Street)
Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story (Hulu)
The Inspection (A24)*
Outstanding International Motion Picture
Bantú Mama (ARRAY)*
Learn to Swim (ARRAY)
The Silent Twins (Focus Features)
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture
Jalyn Hall – Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)*
Joshua Boone – A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix)
Ledisi – Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story (Hulu)
Y’lan Noel – A Lot of Nothing (RLJE)
Yola – Elvis (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)*
Emancipation (Apple TV)
The Woman King (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
Outstanding Animated Motion Picture
DC League of Super-Pets (Warner Bros. Pictures / WAG / DC)
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal Pictures)
Turning Red (Pixar Animation Studios)
Wendell & Wild (Netflix)*
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Motion Picture
Angela Bassett – Wendell & Wild (Netflix)
Keke Palmer – Lightyear (Walt Disney Studios)*
Kevin Hart – DC League of Super-Pets (Warner Bros. Pictures / WAG / DC)
Lyric Ross – Wendell & Wild (Netflix)
Taraji P. Henson – Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal Pictures)
Outstanding Short-Form (Live Action)
Dear Mama… (Film Independent)*
Fannie (Chromatic Black)
Fathead (University of Southern California)
Incomplete (20th Century Digital, Hulu)
Pens & Pencils (Wavelength Productions/Black TV & Film Collective)
Outstanding Short-Form (Animated)
I Knew Superman (Houghtonville Animation)
More Than I Want To Remember (MTV Entertainment Studios)*
Supercilious (York Cinemas)
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Apple Studios)
At the 65th annual Grammy Awards, Harry Styles won Album of the Year for “Harry’s House,” but Beyoncé won four awards and made Grammy history by being the artist to win the most Grammys of all time. Beyoncé’s four Grammy wins now brings her total to 32 Grammys. The previous record of winning 31 Grammys was held by Georg Solti, a Hungarian British conductor who was music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1991.
The 65th annual ceremony Grammy took place on February 5, 2023, at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Trevor Noah hosted the ceremony, which was telecast in the U.S. on CBS, while Paramount+ livestreamed the event. The Grammy Awards are presented and voted on by the Recording Academy.
Beyoncé won Grammys for Best R&B Song (for “Cuff It”); Best Traditional R&B Performance (for “Plastic Off the Sofa”); Best Dance Electronic Recording (for “Break My Soul”); and Best Dance/Electronic Music Album (for “Renaissance”). The latter win was the one that gave her the record-breaking Grammy haul. Beyoncé went into the ceremony with the most nominations (nine), followed by Kendrick Lamar with eight, and Brandi Carlile and Adele with seven each.
In addition to winning Album of the Year, Styles’ “Harry’s House” won for Best Pop Vocal Album. Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” won Record of the Year. Bonnie Raitt’s “Just Like That” was named Song of the Year. Samara Joy won the prize for Best New Artist.
Performers at the ceremony included Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Carlile, Luke Combs, Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Sam Smith, Styles, and DJ Khaled with Fridayy, Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross.
In addition, there were multi-performer segments with certain themes. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, an all-star lineup of hip-hop performers from various generations did a medley of songs. The performers included LL Cool J, Big Boi, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella, Scarface, Swizz Beatz and Too $hort. Before this star-studded performance, LL Cool J presented Dr. Dre with the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, given by the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective to people who have made an important impact in music by black artists.
Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Chris Stapleton performed a medley of songs in tribute to Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy, who were the 2023 honorees for MusiCares Person of the Year. The ceremony’s In Memoriam segment (which had photos of music industry notables who passed away since the previous Grammy ceremony) featured Kacey Musgraves performing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in a tribute to Loretta Lynn; Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt saluting Christine McVie with a performance of “Songbird”; and Maverick City Music joining Quavo for “Without You” in remembrance of Takeoff.
The 2023 Grammy Awards telecast was produced by Fulwell 73 Productions for the Recording Academy. Ben Winston, Jesse Collins and Raj Kapoor were executive producers, with Kapoor also serving as showrunner. A pre-telecast portion of the ceremony was livestreamed on Grammy.com.
Here is the complete list of the winners and nominees for the 2023 Grammy Awards:
1. Record Of The Year
Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist.
Don’t Shut Me Down ABBA Benny Andersson, producer; Benny Andersson & Bernard Löhr, engineers/mixers; Björn Engelmann, mastering engineer
Easy On Me Adele Greg Kurstin, producer; Julian Burg, Tom Elmhirst & Greg Kurstin, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer
BREAK MY SOUL Beyoncé Beyoncé, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, Jens Christian Isaksen & Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, producers; Brandon Harding, Chris McLaughlin & Stuart White, engineers/mixers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer
Good Morning Gorgeous Mary J. Blige D’Mile & H.E.R., producers; Bryce Bordone, Serban Ghenea & Pat Kelly, engineers/mixers
You And Me On The Rock Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius Dave Cobb & Shooter Jennings, producers; Brandon Bell, Tom Elmhirst & Michael Harris, engineers/mixers; Pete Lyman, mastering engineer
Woman Doja Cat Crate Classics, Linden Jay, Aynzli Jones & Yeti Beats, producers; Jesse Ray Ernster & Rian Lewis, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
Bad Habit Steve Lacy Steve Lacy, producer; Neal Pogue & Karl Wingate, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
The Heart Part 5 Kendrick Lamar Beach Noise, producer; Beach Noise, Rob Bisel, Ray Charles Brown Jr., James Hunt, Johnny Kosich, Matt Schaeffer & Johnathan Turner, engineers/mixers; Michelle Mancini, mastering engineer
About Damn Time* Lizzo Ricky Reed & Blake Slatkin, producers; Patrick Kehrier, Bill Malina & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Michelle Mancini, mastering engineer
As It Was Harry Styles Tyler Johnson & Kid Harpoon, producers; Jeremy Hatcher & Spike Stent, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer
2. Album Of The Year
Award to Artist(s) and to Featured Artist(s), Songwriter(s) of new material, Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s), Mixer(s) and Mastering Engineer(s).
Voyage ABBA Benny Andersson, producer; Benny Andersson & Bernard Löhr, engineers/mixers; Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, songwriters; Björn Engelmann, mastering engineer
30 Adele Shawn Everett, Ludwig Göransson, Inflo, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Greg Kurstin, Max Martin, Joey Pecoraro & Shellback, producers; Julian Burg, Steve Churchyard, Tom Elmhirst, Shawn Everett, Serban Ghenea, Sam Holland, Michael Ilbert, Inflo, Greg Kurstin, Riley Mackin & Lasse Mårtén, engineers/mixers; Adele Adkins, Ludwig Göransson, Dean Josiah Cover, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Greg Kurstin, Max Martin & Shellback, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer
Un Verano Sin Ti Bad Bunny Rauw Alejandro, Buscabulla, Chencho Corleone, Jhay Cortez, Tony Dize, Bomba Estéreo & The Marías, featured artists; Demy & Clipz, Elikai, HAZE, La Paciencia, Cheo Legendary, MAG, MagicEnElBeat, Mora, Jota Rosa, Subelo Neo & Tainy, producers; Josh Gudwin & Roberto Rosado, engineers/mixers; Raul Alejandro Ocasio Ruiz, Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, Raquel Berrios, Joshua Conway, Mick Coogan, Orlando Javier Valle Vega, Jesus Nieves Cortes, Luis Del Valle, Marcos Masis, Gabriel Mora, Elena Rose, Liliana Margarita Saumet & Maria Zardoya, songwriters; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer
RENAISSANCE Beyoncé Beam, Grace Jones & Tems, featured artists; Jameil Aossey, Bah, Beam, Beyoncé, Bloodpop, Boi-1Da, Cadenza, Al Cres, Mike Dean, Honey Dijon, Kelman Duran, Harry Edwards, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, Ivor Guest, Guiltybeatz, Hit-Boy, Jens Christian Isaksen, Leven Kali, Lil Ju, MeLo-X, No I.D., NovaWav, Chris Penny, P2J, Rissi, S1a0, Raphael Saadiq, Neenyo, Skrillex, Luke Solomon, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, Jahaan Sweet, Syd, Sevn Thomas, Sol Was & Stuart White, producers; Chi Coney, Russell Graham, Guiltybeatz, Brandon Harding, Hotae Alexander Jang, Chris McLaughlin, Delroy “Phatta” Pottinger, Andrea Roberts, Steve Rusch, Jabbar Stevens & Stuart White, engineers/mixers; Denisia “@Blu June” Andrews, Danielle Balbuena, Tyshane Thompson, Kevin Marquis Bellmon, Sydney Bennett, Beyoncé, Jerel Black, Michael Tucker, Atia Boggs p/k/a Ink, Dustin Bowie, David Debrandon Brown, S. Carter, Nija Charles, Sabrina Claudio, Solomon Fagenson Cole, Brittany “@Chi_Coney” Coney, Alexander Guy Cook, Lavar Coppin, Almando Cresso, Mike Dean, Saliou Diagne, Darius Dixson, Jocelyn Donald, Jordan Douglas, Aubrey Drake Graham, Kelman Duran, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, Dave Giles II, Derrick Carrington Gray, Nick Green, Larry Griffin Jr, Ronald Banful, Dave Hamelin, Aviel Calev Hirschfield, Chauncey Hollis, Jr., Ariowa Irosogie, Leven Kali, Ricky Lawson, Tizita Makuria, Julian Martrel Mason, Daniel Memmi, Cherdericka Nichols, Ernest “No I.D.” Wilson, Temilade Openiyi, Patrick Paige II From The Internet, Jimi Stephen Payton, Christopher Lawrence Penny, Michael Pollack, Richard Isong, Honey Redmond, Derek Renfroe, Andrew Richardson, Morten Ristorp, Nile Rodgers, Oliver Rodigan, Freddie Ross, Raphael Saadiq, Matthew Samuels, Sean Seaton, Skrillex, Corece Smith, Luke Francis Matthew Solomon, Jabbar Stevens, Christopher A. Stewart, Jahaan Sweet, Rupert Thomas, Jr. & Jesse Wilson, songwriters; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer
Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe) Mary J. Blige DJ Khaled, Dave East, Fabolous, Fivio Foreign, Griselda, H.E.R., Jadakiss, Moneybagg Yo, Ne-Yo, Anderson .Paak, Remy Ma & Usher, featured artists; Alissia, Tarik Azzouz, Bengineer, Blacka Din Me, Rogét Chahayed, Cool & Dre, Ben Billions, DJ Cassidy, DJ Khaled, D’Mile, Wonda, Bongo Bytheway, H.E.R., Hostile Beats, Eric Hudson, London On Da Track, Leon Michels, Nova Wav, Anderson.Paak, Sl!Mwav, Streetrunner, Swizz Beatz & J White Did It, producers; Derek Ali, Ben Chang, Luis Bordeaux, Bryce Bordone, Lauren D’Elia, Chris Galland, Serban Ghenea, Akeel Henry, Jaycen Joshua, Pat Kelly, Jhair Lazo, Shamele Mackie, Manny Marroquin, Dave Medrano, Ari Morris, Parks, Juan Peña, Ben Sedano, Kev Spencer, Julio Ulloa & Jodie Grayson Williams, engineers/mixers; Alissia Beneviste, Denisia “Blu June” Andrews, Archer, Bianca Atterberry, Tarik Azzouz, Mary J. Blige, David Brewster, David Brown, Shawn Butler, Rogét Chahayed, Ant Clemons, Brittany “Chi” Coney, Kasseem Dean, Benjamin Diehl, DJ Cassidy, Jocelyn Donald, Jerry Duplessis, Uforo Ebong, Dernst Emile II, John Jackson, Adriana Flores, Gabriella Wilson, Shawn Hibbler, Charles A. Hinshaw, Jamie Hurton, Eric Hudson, Jason Phillips, Khaled Khaled, London Holmes, Andre “Dre” Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie, Leon Michels, Jerome Monroe, Jr., Kim Owens, Brandon Anderson, Jeremie “Benny The Butcher” Pennick, Bryan Ponce, Demond “Conway The Machine” Price, Peter Skellern, Shaffer Smith, Nicholas Warwar, Deforrest Taylor, Tiara Thomas, Marcello “Cool” Valenzano, Alvin “Westside Gunn” Worthy, Anthony Jermaine White & Leon Youngblood, songwriters
In These Silent Days Brandi Carlile Lucius, featured artist; Dave Cobb & Shooter Jennings, producers; Brandon Bell, Dave Cobb, Tom Elmhirst, Michael Harris & Shooter Jennings, engineers/mixers; Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters; Pete Lyman, mastering engineer
Music Of The Spheres Coldplay BTS, Jacob Collier, Selena Gomez & We Are KING, featured artists; Jacob Collier, Daniel Green, Oscar Holter, Jon Hopkins, Max Martin, Metro Boomin, Kang Hyo-Won, Bill Rahko, Bart Schoudel, Rik Simpson, Paris Strother & We Are KING, producers; Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Jacob Collier, The Dream Team, Duncan Fuller, Serban Ghenea, Daniel Green, John Hanes, Jon Hopkins, Michael Ilbert, Max Martin, Bill Rahko, Bart Schoudel, Rik Simpson & Paris Strother, engineers/mixers; Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Denise Carite, Will Champion, Jacob Collier, Derek Dixie, Sam Falson, Stephen Fry, Daniel Green, Oscar Holter, Jon Hopkins, Jung Ho-Seok, Chris Martin, Max Martin, John Metcalfe, Leland Tyler Wayne, Bill Rahko, Kim Nam-Joon, Jesse Rogg, Davide Rossi, Rik Simpson, Amber Strother, Paris Strother, Min Yoon-Gi, Federico Vindver & Olivia Waithe, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers Kendrick Lamar Baby Keem, Blxst, Sam Dew, Ghostface Killah, Beth Gibbons, Kodak Black, Tanna Leone, Taylour Paige, Amanda Reifer, Sampha & Summer Walker, featured artists; The Alchemist, Baby Keem, Craig Balmoris, Beach Noise, Bekon, Boi-1da, Cardo, Dahi, DJ Khalil, The Donuts, FNZ, Frano, Sergiu Gherman, Emile Haynie, J.LBS, Mario Luciano, Tyler Mehlenbacher, OKLAMA, Rascal, Sounwave, Jahaan Sweet, Tae Beast, Duval Timothy & Pharrell Williams, producers; Derek Ali, Matt Anthony, Beach Noise, Rob Bisel, David Bishop, Troy Bourgeois, Andrew Boyd, Ray Charles Brown Jr., Derek Garcia, Chad Gordon, James Hunt, Johnny Kosich, Manny Marroquin, Erwing Olivares, Raymond J Scavo III, Matt Schaeffer, Cyrus Taghipour, Johnathan Turner & Joe Visciano, engineers/mixers; Khalil Abdul-Rahman, Hykeem Carter, Craig Balmoris, Beach Noise, Daniel Tannenbaum, Daniel Tannenbaum, Stephen Lee Bruner, Matthew Burdette, Isaac John De Boni, Sam Dew, Anthony Dixon, Victor Ekpo, Sergiu Gherman, Dennis Coles, Beth Gibbons, Frano Huett, Stuart Johnson, Bill K. Kapri, Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Daniel Krieger, Kendrick Lamar, Ronald LaTour, Mario Luciano, Daniel Alan Maman, Timothy Maxey, Tyler Mehlenbacher, Michael John Mulé, D. Natche, OKLAMA, Jason Pounds, Rascal, Amanda Reifer, Matthew Samuels, Avante Santana, Matt Schaeffer, Sampha Sisay, Mark Spears, Homer Steinweiss, Jahaan Akil Sweet, Donte Lamar Perkins, Duval Timothy, Summer Walker & Pharrell Williams, songwriters; Michelle Mancini, mastering engineer
Special Lizzo Benny Blanco, Quelle Chris, Daoud, Omer Fedi, ILYA, Kid Harpoon, Ian Kirkpatrick, Max Martin, Nate Mercereau, The Monsters & Strangerz, Phoelix, Ricky Reed, Mark Ronson, Blake Slatkin & Pop Wansel, producers; Benny Blanco, Bryce Bordone, Jeff Chestek, Jacob Ferguson, Serban Ghenea, Jeremy Hatcher, Andrew Hey, Sam Holland, ILYA, Stefan Johnson, Jens Jungkurth, Patrick Kehrier, Ian Kirkpatrick, Damien Lewis, Bill Malina, Manny Marroquin & Ricky Reed, engineers/mixers; Amy Allen, Daoud Anthony, Jonathan Bellion, Benjamin Levin, Thomas Brenneck, Christian Devivo, Omer Fedi, Eric Frederic, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Melissa Jefferson, Jordan K Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Kid Harpoon, Ian Kirkpatrick, Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Nate Mercereau, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Michael Neil, Michael Pollack, Mark Ronson, Blake Slatkin, Peter Svensson, Gavin Chris Tennille, Theron Makiel Thomas, Andrew Wansel & Emily Warren, songwriters; Michelle Mancini, mastering engineer
Harry’s House* Harry Styles Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon & Sammy Witte, producers; Jeremy Hatcher, Oli Jacobs, Nick Lobel, Spike Stent & Sammy Witte, engineers/mixers; Amy Allen, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon, Mitch Rowland, Harry Styles & Sammy Witte, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer
3. Song Of The Year
A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
abcdefu Sara Davis, GAYLE & Dave Pittenger, songwriters (GAYLE)
About Damn Time Melissa “Lizzo” Jefferson, Eric Frederic, Blake Slatkin & Theron Makiel Thomas, songwriters (Lizzo)
All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film) Liz Rose & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
As It Was Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon & Harry Styles, songwriters (Harry Styles)
Bad Habit Matthew Castellanos, Brittany Fousheé, Diana Gordon, John Carroll Kirby & Steve Lacy, songwriters (Steve Lacy)
BREAK MY SOUL Beyoncé, S. Carter, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant & Christopher A. Stewart, songwriters (Beyoncé)
Easy On Me Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
GOD DID Tarik Azzouz, E. Blackmon, Khaled Khaled, F. LeBlanc, Shawn Carter, John Stephens, Dwayne Carter, William Roberts & Nicholas Warwar, songwriters (DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy)
The Heart Part 5 Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar & Matt Schaeffer, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
Just Like That* Bonnie Raitt, songwriter (Bonnie Raitt)
4. Best New Artist
This category recognizes an artist whose eligibility-year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.
DOMi & JD Beck
5. Best Pop Solo Performance
For new vocal or instrumental pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.
Easy On Me* Adele
Moscow Mule Bad Bunny
Woman Doja Cat
Bad Habit Steve Lacy
About Damn Time Lizzo
As It Was Harry Styles
6. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
For new vocal or instrumental duo/group or collaborative pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.
Don’t Shut Me Down ABBA
Bam Bam Camila Cabello Featuring Ed Sheeran
My Universe Coldplay & BTS
I Like You (A Happier Song) Post Malone & Doja Cat
Unholy* Sam Smith & Kim Petras
7. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new traditional pop recordings.
Higher* Michael Bublé
When Christmas Comes Around… Kelly Clarkson
I Dream Of Christmas (Extended) Norah Jones
Thank You Diana Ross
8. Best Pop Vocal Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new pop vocal recordings.
Music Of The Spheres Coldplay
Harry’s House* Harry Styles
9. Best Dance/Electronic Recording
For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.
BREAK MY SOUL* Beyoncé Beyoncé, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant, Jens Christian Isaksen & Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, producers; Stuart White, mixer
Rosewood Bonobo Simon Green, producer; Simon Green, mixer
Don’t Forget My Love Diplo & Miguel Diplo & Maximilian Jaeger, producers; Luca Pretolesi, mixer
I’m Good (Blue) David Guetta & Bebe Rexha David Guetta & Timofey Reznikov, producers; David Guetta & Timofey Reznikov, mixers
On My Knees RÜFÜS DU SOL Jason Evigan & RÜFÜS DU SOL, producers; Cassian Stewart-Kasimba, mixer
10. Best Dance/Electronic Music Album
For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.
The Last Goodbye ODESZA
Surrender RÜFÜS DU SOL
Contemporary Instrumental Music
11. Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
For albums containing greater than 50% or more playing time of instrumental material. For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new recordings.
Between Dreaming And Joy Jeff Coffin
Not Tight DOMi & JD Beck
Blooz Grant Geissman
Jacob’s Ladder Brad Mehldau
Empire Central* Snarky Puppy
12. Best Rock Performance
For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative rock recordings.
So Happy It Hurts Bryan Adams
Old Man Beck
Wild Child The Black Keys
Broken Horses* Brandi Carlile
Patient Number 9 Ozzy Osbourne Featuring Jeff Beck
13. Best Metal Performance
For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative metal recordings.
Call Me Little Sunshine Ghost
We’ll Be Back Megadeth
Kill Or Be Killed Muse
Degradation Rules* Ozzy Osbourne Featuring Tony Iommi
14. Best Rock Song
A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Rock, Hard Rock and Metal songs. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Black Summer Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis & Chad Smith, songwriters (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Blackout Brady Ebert, Daniel Fang, Franz Lyons, Pat McCrory & Brendan Yates, songwriters (Turnstile)
Broken Horses* Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile)
Harmonia’s Dream Robbie Bennett & Adam Granduciel, songwriters (The War On Drugs)
Patient Number 9 John Osbourne, Chad Smith, Ali Tamposi, Robert Trujillo & Andrew Wotman, songwriters (Ozzy Osbourne Featuring Jeff Beck)
15. Best Rock Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new rock, hard rock or metal recordings.
Dropout Boogie The Black Keys
The Boy Named If Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Mainstream Sellout Machine Gun Kelly
Patient Number 9* Ozzy Osbourne
Lucifer On The Sofa Spoon
16. Best Alternative Music Performance
For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative Alternative music recordings.
There’d Better Be A Mirrorball Arctic Monkeys
Certainty Big Thief
King Florence + The Machine
Chaise Longue* Wet Leg
Spitting Off The Edge Of The World Yeah Yeah Yeahs Featuring Perfume Genius
17. Best Alternative Music Album
Vocal or Instrumental.
WE Arcade Fire
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You Big Thief
Wet Leg* Wet Leg
Cool It Down Yeah Yeah Yeahs
18. Best R&B Performance
For new vocal or instrumental R&B recordings.
VIRGO’S GROOVE Beyoncé
Here With Me Mary J. Blige Featuring Anderson .Paak
Hrs & Hrs* Muni Long
Over Lucky Daye
Hurt Me So Good Jazmine Sullivan
19. Best Traditional R&B Performance
For new vocal or instrumental traditional R&B recordings.
Do 4 Love Snoh Aalegra
Keeps On Fallin’ Babyface Featuring Ella Mai
PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA* Beyoncé
‘Round Midnight Adam Blackstone Featuring Jazmine Sullivan
Good Morning Gorgeous Mary J. Blige
20. Best R&B Song
A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Hurt Me So Good Akeel Henry, Michael Holmes, Luca Mauti, Jazmine Sullivan & Elliott Trent, songwriters (Jazmine Sullivan)
Please Don’t Walk Away PJ Morton, songwriter (PJ Morton)
21. Best Progressive R&B Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of newly recorded progressive vocal tracks derivative of R&B.
Operation Funk Cory Henry
Gemini Rights* Steve Lacy
Drones Terrace Martin
Red Balloon Tank And The Bangas
22. Best R&B Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new R&B recordings.
Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe) Mary J. Blige
Breezy (Deluxe) Chris Brown
Black Radio III* Robert Glasper
Candydrip Lucky Daye
Watch The Sun PJ Morton
23. Best Rap Performance
For a Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.
GOD DID DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy
Vegas Doja Cat
pushin P Gunna & Future Featuring Young Thug
F.N.F. (Let’s Go) Hitkidd & GloRilla
The Heart Part 5* Kendrick Lamar
24. Best Melodic Rap Performance
For a solo or collaborative performance containing both elements of R&B melodies and Rap.
BEAUTIFUL DJ Khaled Featuring Future & SZA
WAIT FOR U* Future Featuring Drake & Tems
First Class Jack Harlow
Die Hard Kendrick Lamar Featuring Blxst & Amanda Reifer
Big Energy (Live) Latto
25. Best Rap Song
A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Churchill Downs Ace G, BEDRM, Matthew Samuels, Tahrence Brown, Rogét Chahayed, Aubrey Graham, Jack Harlow & Jose Velazquez, songwriters (Jack Harlow Featuring Drake)
GOD DID Tarik Azzouz, E. Blackmon, Khaled Khaled, F. LeBlanc, Shawn Carter, John Stephens, Dwayne Carter, William Roberts & Nicholas Warwar, songwriters (DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy)
The Heart Part 5* Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar & Matt Schaeffer, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
pushin P Lucas Depante, Nayvadius Wilburn, Sergio Kitchens, Wesley Tyler Glass & Jeffery Lamar Williams, songwriters (Gunna & Future Featuring Young Thug)
WAIT FOR U Tejiri Akpoghene, Floyd E. Bentley III, Jacob Canady, Isaac De Boni, Aubrey Graham, Israel Ayomide Fowobaje, Nayvadius Wilburn, Michael Mule, Oluwatoroti Oke & Temilade Openiyi, songwriters (Future Featuring Drake & Tems)
26. Best Rap Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new rap recordings.
GOD DID DJ Khaled
I Never Liked You Future
Come Home The Kids Miss You Jack Harlow
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers* Kendrick Lamar
It’s Almost Dry Pusha T
27. Best Country Solo Performance
For new vocal or instrumental solo country recordings.
Heartfirst Kelsea Ballerini
Something In The Orange Zach Bryan
In His Arms Miranda Lambert
Circles Around This Town Maren Morris
Live Forever* Willie Nelson
28. Best Country Duo/Group Performance
For new vocal or instrumental duo/group or collaborative country recordings.
Wishful Drinking Ingrid Andress & Sam Hunt
Midnight Rider’s Prayer Brothers Osborne
Outrunnin’ Your Memory Luke Combs & Miranda Lambert
Does He Love You – Revisited Reba McEntire & Dolly Parton
Never Wanted To Be That Girl* Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde
Going Where The Lonely Go Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
29. Best Country Song
A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Circles Around This Town Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels, Maren Morris & Jimmy Robbins, songwriters (Maren Morris)
Doin’ This Luke Combs, Drew Parker & Robert Williford, songwriters (Luke Combs)
I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) Lori McKenna & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
If I Was A Cowboy Jesse Frasure & Miranda Lambert, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die Rodney Crowell & Chris Stapleton, songwriters (Willie Nelson)
‘Til You Can’t* Matt Rogers & Ben Stennis, songwriters (Cody Johnson)
30. Best Country Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new country recordings.
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new vocal or instrumental new age recordings.
Positano Songs Will Ackerman
Joy Paul Avgerinos
Mantra Americana Madi Das & Dave Stringer With Bhakti Without Borders
The Passenger Cheryl B. Engelhardt
Mystic Mirror* White Sun
32. Best Improvised Jazz Solo
For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter’s name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.)
Rounds (Live) Ambrose Akinmusire, soloist
Keep Holding On Gerald Albright, soloist
Falling Melissa Aldana, soloist
Call Of The Drum Marcus Baylor, soloist
Cherokee/Koko John Beasley, soloist
Endangered Species* Wayne Shorter & Leo Genovese, soloist
33. Best Jazz Vocal Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new vocal jazz recordings.
The Evening : Live At APPARATUS The Baylor Project
Linger Awhile* Samara Joy
Fade To Black Carmen Lundy
Fifty The Manhattan Transfer With The WDR Funkhausorchester
Ghost Song Cécile McLorin Salvant
34. Best Jazz Instrumental Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new instrumental jazz recordings.
New Standards Vol. 1* Terri Lyne Carrington, Kris Davis, Linda May Han Oh, Nicholas Payton & Matthew Stevens
Live In Italy Peter Erskine Trio
LongGone Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, And Brian Blade
Live At The Detroit Jazz Festival* Wayne Shorter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Leo Genovese & esperanza spalding
Parallel Motion Yellowjackets
35. Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new ensemble jazz recordings.
Bird Lives John Beasley, Magnus Lindgren & SWR Big Band
Remembering Bob Freedman Ron Carter & The Jazzaar Festival Big Band Directed By Christian Jacob
Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra* Steven Feifke, Bijon Watson, Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra
Center Stage Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Ronnie Cuber & WDR Big Band Conducted By Michael Abene
Architecture Of Storms Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly Of Shadows
36. Best Latin Jazz Album
For vocal or instrumental albums containing greater than 50% playing time of newly recorded material. The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinian tango music.
Fandango At The Wall In New York* Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Featuring The Congra Patria Son Jarocho Collective
Crisálida Danilo Pérez Featuring The Global Messengers
If You Will Flora Purim
Rhythm & Soul Arturo Sandoval
Música De Las Américas Miguel Zenón
Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music
37. Best Gospel Performance/Song
This award is given to the artist(s) and songwriter(s) (for new compositions) for the best traditional Christian, roots gospel or contemporary gospel single or track.
When I Pray DOE; Dominique Jones & Dewitt Jones, songwriters
Kingdom* Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, Jonathan Jay, Chandler Moore & Jacob Poole, songwriters
The Better Benediction PJ Morton Featuring Zacardi Cortez, Gene Moore, Samoht, Tim Rogers & Darrel Walls; PJ Morton, songwriter
Get Up Tye Tribbett; Brandon Jones, Christopher Michael Stevens, Thaddaeus Tribbett & Tye Tribbett, songwriters
38. Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
This award is given to the artist(s) and songwriter(s) (for new compositions) for the best contemporary Christian music single or track, (including pop, rap/hip-hop, Latin, or rock.)
God Really Loves Us (Radio Version) Crowder Featuring Dante Bowe and Maverick City Music; Dante Bowe, David Crowder, Ben Glover & Jeff Sojka, songwriters
So Good DOE; Chuck Butler, Dominique Jones & Ethan Hulse, songwriters
For God Is With Us for KING & COUNTRY & Hillary Scott; Josh Kerr, Jordan Reynolds, Joel Smallbone & Luke Smallbone, songwriters
Fear Is Not My Future* Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, Nicole Hannel, Jonathan Jay, Brandon Lake & Hannah Shackelford, songwriters
Holy Forever Chris Tomlin; Jason Ingram, Brian Johnson, Jenn Johnson, Chris Tomlin & Phil Wickham, songwriters
Hymn Of Heaven (Radio Version) Phil Wickham; Chris Davenport, Bill Johnson, Brian Johnson & Phil Wickham, songwriters
39. Best Gospel Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of newly recorded, vocal, traditional or contemporary/R&B gospel music recordings.
Die To Live Maranda Curtis
Breakthrough: The Exodus (Live) Ricky Dillard
One Deluxe* Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin
All Things New Tye Tribbett
40. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of newly recorded, vocal, contemporary Christian music, including pop, rap/hip hop, Latin, or rock recordings.
Lion Elevation Worship
Breathe* Maverick City Music
Life After Death TobyMac
Always Chris Tomlin
My Jesus Anne Wilson
41. Best Roots Gospel Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of newly recorded, vocal, traditional/roots gospel music, including country, Southern gospel, bluegrass, and Americana recordings.
Let’s Just Praise The Lord Gaither Vocal Band
Confessio – Irish American Roots Keith & Kristyn Getty
The Willie Nelson Family Willie Nelson
2:22 Karen Peck & New River
The Urban Hymnal* Tennessee State University Marching Band
42. Best Latin Pop Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new Latin pop recordings.
AGUILERA Christina Aguilera
Pasieros* Rubén Blades & Boca Livre
De Adentro Pa Afuera Camilo
Dharma + Sebastián Yatra
43. Best Música Urbana Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new Música Urbana recordings.
TRAP CAKE, VOL. 2 Rauw Alejandro
Un Verano Sin Ti* Bad Bunny
LEGENDADDY Daddy Yankee
La 167 Farruko
The Love & Sex Tape Maluma
44. Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new Latin rock or alternative recordings.
El Alimento Cimafunk
Tinta y Tiempo Jorge Drexler
1940 Carmen Mon Laferte
Alegoría Gaby Moreno
Los Años Salvajes Fito Paez
45. Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new regional Mexican (banda, norteño, corridos, gruperos, mariachi, ranchera and Tejano) recordings.
Abeja Reina Chiquis
Un Canto por México – El Musical* Natalia Lafourcade
La Reunión (Deluxe) Los Tigres Del Norte
EP #1 Forajido Christian Nodal
Qué Ganas de Verte (Deluxe) Marco Antonio Solís
46. Best Tropical Latin Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new tropical Latin recordings.
Pa’lla Voy* Marc Anthony
Quiero Verte Feliz La Santa Cecilia
Lado A Lado B Víctor Manuelle
Legendario Tito Nieves
Imágenes Latinas Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Cumbiana II Carlos Vives
American Roots Music
47. Best American Roots Performance
For new vocal or instrumental American Roots recordings. This is for performances in the style of any of the subgenres encompassed in the American Roots Music field including bluegrass, blues, folk or regional roots. Award to the artist(s).
Someday It’ll All Make Sense (Bluegrass Version) Bill Anderson Featuring Dolly Parton
Life According To Raechel Madison Cunningham
Oh Betty Fantastic Negrito
Stompin’ Ground* Aaron Neville With The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Prodigal Daughter Aoife O’Donovan & Allison Russell
48. Best Americana Performance
For new vocal or instrumental Americana performance. Award to the artist(s).
Silver Moon [A Tribute To Michael Nesmith] Eric Alexandrakis
There You Go Again Asleep At The Wheel Featuring Lyle Lovett
The Message Blind Boys Of Alabama Featuring Black Violin
You And Me On The Rock Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius
Made Up Mind* Bonnie Raitt
49. Best American Roots Song
A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Americana, bluegrass, traditional blues, contemporary blues, folk or regional roots songs. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Bright Star Anaïs Mitchell, songwriter (Anaïs Mitchell)
Forever Sheryl Crow & Jeff Trott, songwriters (Sheryl Crow)
High And Lonesome T Bone Burnett & Robert Plant, songwriters (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss)
Just Like That* Bonnie Raitt, songwriter (Bonnie Raitt)
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new vocal or instrumental Global Music recordings.
Shuruaat Berklee Indian Ensemble
Love, Damini Burna Boy
Queen Of Sheba Angélique Kidjo & Ibrahim Maalouf
Between Us… (Live) Anoushka Shankar, Metropole Orkest & Jules Buckley Featuring Manu Delago
Sakura* Masa Takumi
59. Best Children’s Music Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new musical or spoken word recordings that are created and intended specifically for children.
Into The Little Blue House Wendy And DB
Los Fabulosos Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
The Movement* Alphabet Rockers
Ready Set Go! Divinity Roxx
Space Cadet Justin Roberts
60. Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording
Act Like You Got Some Sense Jamie Foxx
All About Me!: My Remarkable Life In Show Business By Mel Brooks Mel Brooks
Aristotle And Dante Dive Into The Waters Of The World Lin-Manuel Miranda
Finding Me* Viola Davis
Music Is History Questlove
61. Best Spoken Word Poetry Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new spoken word poetry recordings.
Black Men Are Precious Ethelbert Miller
Call Us What We Carry: Poems Amanda Gorman
Hiding In Plain View Malcolm-Jamal Warner
The Poet Who Sat By The Door* J. Ivy
You Will Be Someone’s Ancestor. Act Accordingly. Amir Sulaiman
62. Best Comedy Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new recordings.
The Closer* Dave Chappelle
Comedy Monster Jim Gaffigan
A Little Brains, A Little Talent Randy Rainbow
Sorry Louis CK
We All Scream Patton Oswalt
63. Best Musical Theater Album
For albums containing greater 51% playing time of new recordings. Award to the principal vocalist(s), and the album producer(s) of 50% or more playing time of the album. The lyricist(s) and composer(s) of 50 % or more of a score of a new recording are eligible for an Award if any previous recording of said score has not been nominated in this category.
Caroline, Or Change John Cariani, Sharon D Clarke, Caissie Levy & Samantha Williams, principal vocalists; Van Dean, Nigel Lilley, Lawrence Manchester, Elliot Scheiner & Jeanine Tesori, producers; Jeanine Tesori, composer; Tony Kushner, lyricist (New Broadway Cast)
Into The Woods (2022 Broadway Cast Recording)* Sara Bareilles, Brian d’Arcy James, Patina Miller & Phillipa Soo, principal vocalists; Rob Berman & Sean Patrick Flahaven, producers (Stephen Sondheim, composer & lyricist) (2022 Broadway Cast)
MJ The Musical Myles Frost & Tavon Olds-Sample, principal vocalists; David Holcenberg, Derik Lee & Jason Michael Webb, producers (Original Broadway Cast)
Mr. Saturday Night Shoshana Bean, Billy Crystal, Randy Graff & David Paymer, principal vocalists; Jason Robert Brown, Sean Patrick Flahaven & Jeffrey Lesser, producers; Jason Robert Brown, composer; Amanda Green, lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)
Six: Live On Opening Night Joe Beighton, Tom Curran, Sam Featherstone, Paul Gatehouse, Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss, producers; Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss, composers/lyricists (Original Broadway Cast)
A Strange Loop Jaquel Spivey, principal vocalist; Michael Croiter, Michael R. Jackson, Charlie Rosen & Rona Siddiqui, producers; Michael R. Jackson, composer & lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)
Music for Visual Media
64. Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Award to the principal artist(s) and/or ‘in studio’ producer(s) of a majority of the tracks on the album. In the absence of both, award to the one or two individuals proactively responsible for the concept and musical direction of the album and for the selection of artists, songs and producers, as applicable. Award also goes to appropriately credited music supervisor(s).
ELVIS (Various Artists)
Encanto* (Various Artists)
Stranger Things: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series, Season 4 (Vol 2) (Various Artists)
Top Gun: Maverick Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe
West Side Story (Various Artists)
65. Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (Includes Film And Television)
Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current legitimate motion picture, television show or series, or other visual media.
The Batman Michael Giacchino, composer
Encanto* Germaine Franco, composer
No Time To Die Hans Zimmer, composer
The Power Of The Dog Jonny Greenwood, composer
Succession: Season 3 Nicholas Britell, composer
66. Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media
Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, video games and other interactive media.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite Austin Wintory, composer
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn Of Ragnarok* Stephanie Economou, composer
Call Of Duty®: Vanguard Bear McCreary, composer
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Richard Jacques, composer
Old World Christopher Tin, composer
67. Best Song Written For Visual Media
A Songwriter(s) award. For a song (melody & lyrics) written specifically for a motion picture, television, video games or other visual media, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Be Alive [From King Richard] Beyoncé & Darius Scott Dixson, songwriters (Beyoncé)
Carolina [From Where The Crawdads Sing] Taylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift)
Hold My Hand [From Top Gun: Maverick] Bloodpop® & Stefani Germanotta, songwriters (Lady Gaga)
Keep Rising (The Woman King) [From The Woman King] Angelique Kidjo, Jeremy Lutito & Jessy Wilson, songwriters (Jessy Wilson Featuring Angelique Kidjo)
Nobody Like U [From Turning Red] Billie Eilish & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (4*Town, Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva)
We Don’t Talk About Bruno [From Encanto]* Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter (Carolina Gaitán – La Gaita, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto – Cast)
68. Best Instrumental Composition
A Composer’s Award for an original composition (not an adaptation) first released during the Eligibility Year. Singles or Tracks only.
African Tales Paquito D’Rivera, composer (Tasha Warren & Dave Eggar)
El País Invisible Miguel Zenón, composer (Miguel Zenón, José Antonio Zayas Cabán, Ryan Smith & Casey Rafn)
Fronteras (Borders) Suite: Al-Musafir Blues Danilo Pérez, composer (Danilo Pérez Featuring The Global Messengers)
Beginningless Beginning* Chun-Tien Hsia & Qing-Yang Xiao, art directors (Tamsui-Kavalan Chinese Orchestra)
Divers William Stichter, art director (Soporus)
Everything Was Beautiful Mark Farrow, art director (Spiritualized)
Telos Ming Liu, art director (Fann)
Voyeurist Tnsn Dvsn, art director (Underoath)
72. Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
Artists Inspired By Music: Interscope Reimagined Josh Abraham, Steve Berman, Jimmy Iovine, John Janick & Jason Sangerman, art directors (Various Artists)
Big Mess Berit Gwendolyn Gilma, art director (Danny Elfman)
Black Pumas (Collector’s Edition Box Set) Jenna Krackenberger, Anna McCaleb & Preacher, art directors (Black Pumas)
Book Paul Sahre, art director (They Might Be Giants)
In And Out Of The Garden: Madison Square Garden ’81 ’82 ’83* Lisa Glines, Doran Tyson & Dave Van Patten, art directors (The Grateful Dead)
73. Best Album Notes
The American Clavé Recordings Fernando González, album notes writer (Astor Piazzolla)
Andy Irvine & Paul Brady Gareth Murphy, album notes writer (Andy Irvine & Paul Brady)
Harry Partch, 1942 John Schneider, album notes writer (Harry Partch)
Life’s Work: A Retrospective Ted Olson, album notes writer (Doc Watson)
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)* Bob Mehr, album notes writer (Wilco)
74. Best Historical Album
Against The Odds: 1974-1982 Tommy Manzi, Steve Rosenthal & Ken Shipley, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer; Tom Camuso, restoration engineer (Blondie)
The Goldberg Variations – The Complete Unreleased 1981 Studio Sessions Robert Russ, compilation producer; Martin Kistner, mastering engineer (Glenn Gould)
Life’s Work: A Retrospective Scott Billington, Ted Olson & Mason Williams, compilation producers; Paul Blakemore, mastering engineer (Doc Watson)
To Whom It May Concern… Jonathan Sklute, compilation producer; Kevin Marques Moo, mastering engineer (Freestyle Fellowship)
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) Cheryl Pawelski & Jeff Tweedy, compilation producers; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (Wilco)
75. Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical
A Songwriter’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)
For My Friends (King Princess) (S)
The Hardest Part (Alexander23) (S)
If We Were A Party (Alexander23) (S)
If You Love Me (Lizzo) (T)
Magic Wand (Alexander23) (T)
Matilda (Harry Styles) (T)
Move Me (Charli XCX) (T)
Too Bad (King Princess) (S)
Vicious (Sabrina Carpenter) (S)
Cozy (Beyoncé) (T)
Ex For A Reason (Summer Walker With JT From City Girls) (T)
Good Love (City Girls Featuring Usher) (S)
Iykyk (Lil Durk Featuring Ella Mai & A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie) (T)
Lobby (Anitta & Missy Elliott) (S)
Ride For You (Meek Mill Featuring Kehlani) (T)
Sweetest Pie (Megan Thee Stallion & Dua Lipa) (S)
Tangerine (Kehlani) (T)
Throw It Away (Summer Walker) (T)
Tobias Jesso Jr.*
Boyfriends (Harry Styles) (T)
C’mon Baby Cry (Orville Peck) (T)
Can I Get It (Adele) (T)
Careless (FKA Twigs Featuring Daniel Caesar) (T)
Dotted Lines (King Princess) (T)
Let You Go (Diplo & TSHA) (S)
No Good Reason (Omar Apollo) (T)
Thank You Song (FKA Twigs) (T)
To Be Loved (Adele) (T)
Break My Soul (Beyoncé) (S)
Church Girl (Beyoncé) (T)
Energy (Beyoncé) (T)
I’m That Girl (Beyoncé) (T)
Mercedes (Brent Faiyaz) (S)
Rock N Roll (Pusha T Featuring Kanye West and Kid Cudi) (T)
Rolling Stone (Brent Faiyaz) (T)
Summer Renaissance (Beyoncé) (T)
Thique (Beyoncé) (T)
Background Music (Maren Morris) (T)
Feed (Demi Lovato) (T)
Humble Quest (Maren Morris) (T)
Pain (Ingrid Andress) (T)
29 (Demi Lovato) (T)
76. Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
An Engineer’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)
Adolescence George Nicholas & Ryan Schwabe, engineers; Ryan Schwabe, mastering engineer (Baynk)
Black Radio III Daniel Farris, Tiffany Gouché, Keith Lewis, Musiq Soulchild, Reginald Nicholas, Q-Tip, Amir Sulaiman, Michael Law Thomas & Jon Zacks, engineers; Chris Athens, mastering engineer (Robert Glasper)
Chloë and the Next 20th Century Dave Cerminara & Jonathan Wilson, engineers; Adam Ayan, mastering engineer (Father John Misty)
Harry’s House* Jeremy Hatcher, Oli Jacobs, Nick Lobel, Mark “Spike” Stent & Sammy Witte, engineers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer (Harry Styles)
Wet Leg Jon McMullen, Joshua Mobaraki, Alan Moulder & Alexis Smith, engineers; Matt Colton, mastering engineer (Wet Leg)
77. Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical
A Producer’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)
All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) (Taylor Swift) (T)
Dance Fever (Florence + The Machine) (A)
I Still Believe (Diana Ross) (T)
Minions: The Rise Of Gru (Various Artists) (A)
Part Of The Band (The 1975) (S)
Dropout Boogie (The Black Keys) (A)
El Bueno Y El Malo (Hermanos Gutiérrez) (T)
Nightmare Daydream (The Velveteers) (A)
Rich White Honky Blues (Hank Williams Jr.) (A)
Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute To John Anderson (Various Artists) (A)
Strange Time To Be Alive (Early James) (A)
Sweet Unknown (Ceramic Animal) (A)
Tres Hermanos (Hermanos Gutiérrez) (T)
Young Blood (Marcus King) (A)
Chronicles (Cordae Featuring H.E.R. & Lil Durk) (T)
Churchill Downs (Jack Harlow Featuring Drake) (T)
Heated (Beyoncé) (T)
Mafia (Travis Scott) (S)
N95 (Kendrick Lamar) (T)
Nail Tech (Jack Harlow) (T)
Not Another Love Song (Ella Mai) (T)
Scarred (Giveon) (T)
Silent Hill (Kendrick Lamar) (T)
Buttons (Steve Lacy) (T)
Count Me Out (Kendrick Lamar) (T)
Die Hard (Kendrick Lamar) (T)
DJ Quik (Vince Staples) (T)
Father Time (Kendrick Lamar Featuring Sampha) (T)
Give You The World (Steve Lacy) (T)
Mercury (Steve Lacy) (T)
Mirror (Kendrick Lamar) (T)
Rich Spirit (Kendrick Lamar) (T)
Dernst “D’mile” Emile II
Candy Drip (Lucky Daye) (A)
An Evening With Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak And Silk Sonic) (A)
Good Morning Gorgeous (Mary J. Blige) (S)
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (Jazmine Sullivan) (S)
78. Best Remixed Recording
A Remixer’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses for identification.) Singles or Tracks only.
About Damn Time (Purple Disco Machine Remix)* Purple Disco Machine, remixer (Lizzo)
BREAK MY SOUL (Terry Hunter Remix) Terry Hunter, remixer (Beyoncé)
Easy Lover (Four Tet Remix) Four Tet, remixer (Ellie Goulding)
Slow Song (Paul Woolford Remix) Paul Woolford, remixer (The Knocks & Dragonette)
Too Late Now (Soulwax Remix) Soulwax, remixers (Wet Leg)
79. Best Immersive Audio Album
For vocal or instrumental albums in any genre. Must be commercially released on DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, SACD, Blu-Ray, or burned download-only/streaming-only copies and must provide a new immersive mix of four or more channels. Award to the immersive mix engineer, immersive producer (if any) and immersive mastering engineer (if any).
Divine Tides* Eric Schilling, immersive mix engineer; Stewart Copeland, Ricky Kej & Herbert Waltl, immersive producers (Stewart Copeland & Ricky Kej)
Memories…Do Not Open Mike Piacentini, immersive mix engineer; Mike Piacentini, immersive mastering engineer; Adam Alpert, Alex Pall, Jordan Stilwell & Andrew Taggart, immersive producers (The Chainsmokers)
Picturing The Invisible – Focus 1 Jim Anderson, immersive mix engineer; Morten Lindberg & Ulrike Schwarz, immersive mastering engineers; Jane Ira Bloom & Ulrike Schwarz, immersive producers (Jane Ira Bloom)
Tuvayhun — Beatitudes For A Wounded World Morten Lindberg, immersive mix engineer; Morten Lindberg, immersive mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, immersive producer (Nidarosdomens Jentekor & Trondheimsolistene)
80. Best Engineered Album, Classical
An Engineer’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.)
Bates: Philharmonia Fantastique – The Making Of The Orchestra* Shawn Murphy, Charlie Post & Gary Rydstrom, engineers; Michael Romanowski, mastering engineer (Edwin Outwater & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6; Stucky: Silent Spring Mark Donahue, engineer; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
Perspectives Jonathan Lackey, Bill Maylone & Dan Nichols, engineers; Joe Lambert, mastering engineer (Third Coast Percussion)
Tuvayhun – Beatitudes For A Wounded World Morten Lindberg, engineer; Morten Lindberg, mastering engineer (Anita Brevik, Nidarosdomens Jentekor & Trondheimsolistene)
Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes Bernhard Güttler, Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Christoph Stickel, mastering engineer (Anne-Sophie Mutter, John Williams & Boston Symphony Orchestra)
81. Producer Of The Year, Classical
A Producer’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.)
Works By Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman (Michael Repper & New York Youth Symphony) (A)
82. Best Orchestral Performance
Award to the Conductor and to the Orchestra.
Adams, John Luther: Sila – The Breath Of The World Doug Perkins, conductor (Musicians Of The University Of Michigan Department Of Chamber Music & University Of Michigan Percussion Ensemble)
Dvořák: Symphonies Nos. 7-9 Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Eastman: Stay On It Christopher Rountree, conductor (Wild Up)
John Williams – The Berlin Concert John Williams, conductor (Berliner Philharmoniker)
Works By Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman Michael Repper, conductor (New York Youth Symphony)*
83. Best Opera Recording
Award to the Conductor, Album Producer(s) and Principal Soloists, and to the Composer and Librettist (if applicable) of a world premiere Opera recording only.
Aucoin: Eurydice Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Barry Banks, Nathan Berg, Joshua Hopkins, Erin Morley & Jakub Józef Orliński; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
Blanchard: Fire Shut Up In My Bones* Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Angel Blue, Will Liverman, Latonia Moore & Walter Russell III; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
Davis: X – The Life And Times Of Malcolm X Gil Rose, conductor; Ronnita Miller, Whitney Morrison, Victor Robertson & Davóne Tines; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Odyssey Opera Chorus)
84. Best Choral Performance
Award to the Conductor, and to the Choral Director and/or Chorus Master where applicable and to the Choral Organization/Ensemble.
Bach: St. John Passion John Eliot Gardiner, conductor (English Baroque Soloists; Monteverdi Choir)
Born* Donald Nally, conductor (Dominic German, Maren Montalbano, Rebecca Myers & James Reese; The Crossing)
Verdi: Requiem – The Met Remembers 9/11 Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Donald Palumbo, chorus master (Michelle DeYoung, Eric Owens, Ailyn Pérez & Matthew Polenzani; The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
85. Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
For new recordings of works with chamber or small ensemble (twenty-four or fewer members, not including the conductor). One Award to the ensemble and one Award to the conductor, if applicable.
Award to the Instrumental Soloist(s) and to the Conductor when applicable.
Abels: Isolation Variation Hilary Hahn
Bach: The Art Of Life Daniil Trifonov
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations Mitsuko Uchida
Letters For The Future* Time For Three; Xian Zhang, conductor (The Philadelphia Orchestra)
A Night In Upper Town – The Music Of Zoran Krajacic Mak Grgić
87. Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Award to: Vocalist(s), Collaborative Artist(s) (Ex: pianists, conductors, chamber groups) Producer(s), Recording Engineers/Mixers with greater than 50% playing time of new material.
Eden Joyce DiDonato, soloist; Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor (Il Pomo D’Oro)
How Do I Find You Sasha Cooke, soloist; Kirill Kuzmin, pianist
Okpebholo: Lord, How Come Me Here? Will Liverman, soloist; Paul Sánchez, pianist (J’Nai Bridges & Caen Thomason-Redus)
Stranger – Works For Tenor By Nico Muhly Nicholas Phan, soloist (Eric Jacobson; Brooklyn Rider & The Knights; Reginald Mobley)
Voice Of Nature – The Anthropocene* Renée Fleming, soloist; Yannick Nézet-Séguin, pianist
88. Best Classical Compendium
Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s) and Engineer(s) of over 50% playing time of the album, and to the Composer and Librettist (if applicable) with over 50% playing time of a world premiere recording only.
An Adoption Story* Starr Parodi & Kitt Wakeley; Jeff Fair, Starr Parodi & Kitt Wakeley, producers
Gubaidulina: The Wrath Of God Sofia Gubaidulina, composer (Andris Nelsons & Gewandhausorchester)
Puts: Contact Kevin Puts, composer (Xian Zhang, Time for Three & The Philadelphia Orchestra)*
Simon: Requiem For The Enslaved Carlos Simon, composer (Carlos Simon, MK Zulu, Marco Pavé & Hub New Music)
90. Best Music Video
Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.
Easy On Me Adele Xavier Dolan, video director; Xavier Dolan & Nancy Grant, video producers
Yet To Come BTS Yong Seok Choi, video director; Tiffany Suh, video producer
Woman Doja Cat Child., video director; Missy Galanida, Sam Houston, Michelle Larkin & Isaac Rice, video producers
The Heart Part 5 Kendrick Lamar Dave Free & Kendrick Lamar, video directors; Jason Baum & Jamie Rabineau, video producers
As It Was Harry Styles Tanu Muino, video director; Frank Borin, Ivanna Borin, Fred Bonham Carter & Alexa Haywood, video producers
All Too Well: The Short Film* Taylor Swift Taylor Swift, video director; Saul Germaine, video producer
91. Best Music Film
For concert/performance films or music documentaries. Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.
Adele One Night Only Adele Paul Dugdale, video director
Our World Justin Bieber Michael D. Ratner, video director; Kfir Goldberg, Andy Mininger & Scott Ratner, video producers
Billie Eilish Live At The O2 Billie Eilish Sam Wrench, video director; Michelle An, Tom Colbourne, Chelsea Dodson & Billie Eilish, video producers
Motomami (Rosalía Tiktok Live Performance) Rosalía Ferrán Echegaray, Rosalía Vila Tobella & Stillz, video directors
Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story* (Various Artists) Frank Marshall & Ryan Suffern, video directors; Frank Marshall, Sean Stuart & Ryan Suffern, video producers
A Band A Brotherhood A Barn Neil Young & Crazy Horse Dhlovelife, video director; Gary Ward, video producer
The 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The eligibility period for the 65th GRAMMY Awards is Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 – Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. All eligible awards entries must be released within this timeframe.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy’s Voting Membership.
Culture Representation: In the documentary film “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” a group of African Americans and white people discuss the impact of rock and roll pioneer Little Richard, who died in 2020, at the age of 87.
Culture Clash: Little Richard experienced homophobia, racism, cultural appropriation, drug addiction and showbiz ripoffs during his many ups and downs.
Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the target audience of fans of Little Richard, “Little Richard: I Am Everything” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching documentaries about music legends who influenced countless entertainers.
“Little Richard: I Am Everything” vibrantly captures the spirit of rock music pioneer Little Richard and doesn’t shy away from exploring his many contradictions. The documentary stumbles by adding sparkly visual effects to make him look “magical,” but these corny embellishments don’t ruin the movie. “Little Richard: I Am Everything” can at least be applauded for not sticking to an entirely predictable format, since the movie does a few other things in its effort to not be a typical biographical documentary.
Directed by Lisa Cortés, “Little Richard: I Am Everything” had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary unfolds in chronological order and has an expected mixture of archival footage of Little Richard (who died in 2020, at the age of 87) and exclusive documentary interviews with family members, associates, celebrity admirers and various culture experts. People don’t have to be fans of rock music to know that Little Richard was one of the originators of the genre. However, may people who are unfamiliar with him as an artist might be surprised by how his life went from one extreme to the other, often by his own doing.
People knowledgeable about rock history will also know already that Little Richard—just like other African American artists who were pioneers in rock music—was frequently ripped off creatively and financially. He was never fully appreciated by the industry when he was in the prime of his career. It was only after he loudly complained for years about not getting the recognition he deserved that he started to receive many industry accolades.
For example, Little Richard never won a Grammy Award in a competitive category (the Grammys Awards were launched in 1960, after Little Richard’s hitmaking career peaked), but he did receive a non-competitive Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1993, long after he stopped making hit records. He was in the first group of artists inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in January 1986, but he couldn’t attend the ceremony because he had the bad luck of being seriously injured in a car accident in October 1985. (He fell asleep behind the wheel of the car.)
Born in Macon, Georgia, in 1932, Richard Wayne Penniman (Little Richard’s birth name) knew from an early age that he wanted to be a flamboyant entertainer, starting from when he used to dress up in his mother’s clothes when he was a child. Little Richard, who grew up in a strict Christian household, was the third-youngest of 12 children. His mother Leva Mae Penniman accepted him for who he was, but his father Charles “Bud” Penniman would brutally abuse Richard for being effeminate.
Bud Penniman was also a study in contradictions: He was church deacon and a brick mason, but he was also a bootlegger who owned a small nightclub and a house where he sold alcoholic drinks, which were illegal at the time. Ralph Harper, a former neighbor of the Penniman family, has this memory of Little Richard: “He was always banging on the piano, anytime you see him.”
Muriel Jackson, head of the Middle Georgia Archives, comments on Macon’s culture: “Macon is known for its churches. It’s a conservative, religious town.” Therefore, Little Richard wasn’t just bullied at home for being who he was. He also got a lot of abuse from other people in the community.
Specialty Records historian Billy Vera says, “They called him a sissy, a punk” and much worse. Emmy-winning and Tony-winning entertainer Billy Porter (who is openly gay) adds, “I can only imagine. I’ve lived a version of that. It’s debilitating. It’s soul-crushing. And it can be deadly.”
Little Richard spent the early years of his entertainment career in that vortex of contradictions: He would play the piano or sing in the choir in the stern atmosphere of conservative church gatherings, but he would also perform in the much-less restrictive (and taboo at the time) gay-friendly nightclubs in Macon and later Atlanta. He would often appear in drag at these shows under the stage name Princess LaVonne. In those days, it was illegal for men to dress in drag in public, unless they it was part of an entertainment act.
One of his frequent hangouts was Ann’s Tic Toc in Macon. And as a teenager, Little Richard worked at the Macon City Auditorium, where it made a huge impact on him to see many artists up close and backstage. The documentary mentions that when Little Richard saw his idol Sister Rosetta Tharpe (a guitar-playing vanguard in rock music) do a concert at the Macon City Auditorium in 1945, it changed his life. His piano-playing style was influenced by how Ike Turner played piano on Jackie Brenston’s 1957 song “Rocket 88.”
Little Richard was influential to countless artists, but there were people who influenced him on his artistic image/persona. In addition to Tharpe, another performer who helped shape Little Richard’s entertainment style was an openly gay drag performer named Billy Wright, who met Little Richard at the Gold Peacock nightclub in Atlanta in 1950, and they eventually became close friends. Wright had a pompadour hairstyle, wore heavy makeup, and had a thin moustache, which all eventually became signature looks for Little Richard. Did Little Richard copy Wright? Not really, as scholar Zandria Robinson explains: “They were kind of like mirrors that come into your life and show you who you really are.
In the early 1950s, black artists were limited to performing R&B, blues, jazz and gospel. The documentary mentions that when Little Richard was looking for a record deal, he didn’t quite fit in with any of these music genres, even though he was repeatedly told that he should perform blues, according to his longtime drummer Charles Connor. Instead, Little Richard was part of a small but growing number of black artists pioneering a new form of music that combined blues and R&B and made it more energetic, raucous and sexually frank. At first, this new form of music was called “race music” (to indicate that it was performed by black artists) but eventually became known as rock and roll.
Little Richard signed a deal with Signature Records. And his music as a rock artist eventually became hits not just on the R&B charts, but made their way as crossover hits on the pop charts. It’s mentioned that cars being made with radios had a big impact on people (especially the young people who tended to be rock fans) being able to listen to rock music away from home. It was during the 1950s that Little Richard had his biggest and most famous hits, including “Tutti Frutti” (a song that he later admitted was about anal sex, but he changed the lyrics before recording it), “Long Tall Sally,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly” and “Lucille.”
His stage act became known for his “let it all hang out” style of banging on the piano (often with a leg propped up on the piano) with passionate sexual energy that wasn’t often seen in piano players at the time. Little Richard was sexually ambiguous at a time when it was very dangerous for performers, especially male performers, to be sexually ambiguous. It’s noted in the documentary that Little Richard’s father eventually came to accept him after Richard became a local star in the Georgia music scene. Tragically, Bud Penniman was shot to death in 1952, outside his Tip In Inn nightclub. No suspect was ever charged with this murder, but Little Richard said for years that the culprit was Frank Tanner, who was Little Richard’s best friend at the time.
By 1956, Little Richard had moved to Los Angeles and brought many of his siblings with him. Several people in the documentary talk about how generous he was with family, friends and associates. Throughout it all, Little Richard’s mother was one of his biggest fans. Little Richard’s longtime drag-queen friend Sir Lady Java (an activist/entrepreneur) says in the documentary about Leva Mae Penniman: “She was such a beautiful person. She knew who he was and what he was. And she loved him in spite of it.”
Tom Jones says in the documentary that out of the five artists who are considered the first megastars of rock and roll—Little Richard, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis—”Little Richard was the strongest.” By the early 1960s, Little Richard was usually named as one of the biggest influences of a slew of British artists who were making their mark in rock and roll. The Beatles (who hung out with Little Richard in the band’s pre-fame nightclub stint in Liverpool, England, and in Hamburg, Germany) and the Rolling Stones jumped at the chance to perform on the same bill with Little Richard.
Robinson says that Little Richard’s upbringing in the South both tormented him and was inherent to who he was: “The South is the home of all things queer, of the different, of the non-normative, of the other side of gothic, of the grotesque. Note that queerness is not just about sexuality but about a presence and a space that is different from what we require or expect.” In other words, it doesn’t mean that queerness is more likely to be found in the South but that during Little Richard’s youth, the issues of race, social class and sexuality were more dangerous for people in certain parts of the South, such as his hometown of Macon, than in other parts of the United States.
After he became famous, Richard would change the descriptions of his sexual identity many times. Sometimes, he identified as gay. Sometimes, he identified as straight, during the periods of time when he became a born-again Christian who renounced any sexual identity that wasn’t heterosexual. Sometimes, he identified as bisexual or queer. Regardless of what his sexual identity was or was perceived to be, Little Richard could not be reasonably confused with any other entertainer because he had such a strong and distinct persona.
Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, who says Little Richard was one of his biggest influences, comments on Little Richard’s persona: “It was almost like having a split personality.” The Rolling Stones were the opening act for Little Richard at the beginning of the British band’s career in the early 1960s. Jagger said he used that opportunity to study Little Richard’s onstage persona: “I would be at the side of the stage to watch him. Richard would work that audience.” Jagger, who started his career with a performing style of standing still a lot on stage, changed that style and took on some of the same techniques that Little Richard used, and which Jagger still uses today.
Tony Newman, drummer of the British band Sounds Incorporated, has fond memories of working as a backup musician for Little Richard, whom he met in London in 1962. “Nearly every night,” Newman says, “it escalated into a full-blown riot in the theater. I remember coming off of that and thinking, ‘Now this is rock and roll!”
A great deal of the documentary repeats information that music historians already know but other people might not know about how much white artists and music companies owned by white people benefited and often ripped off the work of innovative black artists such as Little Richard. Elvis Presley and Pat Boone were two of the white artists who’ve famously done cover versions of Little Richard songs. The documentary points out that while Presley often acknowledged Little Richard for being an influence that was crucial to Presley’s success (Presley publicly called Little Richard the “real king of rock and roll”), Boone was not as gracious in admitting how much Boone was profiting off of music originally made by black artists such as Little Richard. In most cases, white artists got more money and recognition for performing songs originally performed by black artists than the black artists who were the originators of these songs.
This documentary didn’t have to do any real investigating to reveal any big secrets about Little Richard when it came to sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, because Little Richard told secrets about himself years ago in numerous interviews. The documentary includes clips of TV and radio interviews where he openly talks about indulging in sex orgies and experiencing drug addiction in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He also participated in Charles White’s 1984 non-fiction tell-all book “The Life and Times of Little Richard,” which had a lot of details of Little Richard’s decadent lifestyle. The only viewers of this documentary who might be surprised by all this information are people who don’t know much about Little Richard.
As hedonistic as he admittedly was, there were periods of time in his life in the 1950s and the 1970s, when he denounced his “sinful” lifestyle and became a religious fanatic who gave up rock music to perform gospel music. In the late 1950s, he attended Oakwood University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Huntsville, Alabama. These born-again Christian phases in his life often included Little Richard claiming that he was drug-free and no longer condoning of non-heterosexuality. This self-shame about his sexuality seemed to come and go in Little Richard’s life, which made him someone who was unpredictable and difficult for many people to figure out.
“Little Richard: I Am Everything” includes interviews with Lee Angel, who famously told the world decades ago that Little Richard seduced her in 1955, when she was 16 years old, and he asked her to marry him, but she said no. In the documentary, Angel says she’s not convinced that Little Richard was ever 100% gay. “He slept with me, and I’m all woman,” she declares proudly, although she admits she was initially surprised that he was sexually attracted to her because she thought he was more sexually interested in men. (Angel passed away in 2022.) The documentary does not have interviews with any of Little Richard’s male ex-lovers.
During one of his born-again Christian phases, Little Richard married Ernestine Harvin (also known as Ernestine Campbell) in 1959. They divorced in 1964. Harvin is interviewed in the documentary (audio only, not on camera) and says of her marriage to Little Richard: “Richard was the kind of husband most women would want: always positive, loving and caring.” Was Little Richard sexually confused? As scholar Jason King sees it: “He was very good at liberating other people through example. He was not good at liberating himself.”
“Little Richard: I Am Everything” also includes some mention of Little Richard’s battles and complaints about being cheated out of royalties, due to signing recording contracts and publishing deals where he received little to no money. Music attorney John Branca says that a lot of these legal issues had to do with Little Richard breaching his contracts during the periods of time when he refused to perform rock music and only wanted to do gospel. However, it’s a common story that many famous music artists, regardless of their race, regret signing deals that they later said were ripoffs where the artists didn’t get paid and sometimes ended up owing money.
Regardless of how much money or how little money Little Richard made from record sales or songwriting royalties, he still managed to be a popular live act and would tour regularly until the later stages in his life. Little Richard also dabbled in acting, usually making guest appearances and cameos in movies and TV shows. His more memorable film roles were in the 1986 comedy “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and the 1993 action film “Last Action Hero.” The documentary does not mention the 2000 NBC TV-movie biopic “Little Richard,” starring Leon, who is not interviewed in the documentary.
One of the ways that “Little Richard: I Am Everything” tries to be different from the usual music documentary is by having artists who aren’t very famous do performances of songs that helped influence or define Little Richard. Valerie June performs Tharpe’s “Strange Things Are Happening Every Day” in the segment that talks about Tharpe. Cory henry recreates Little Richard’s performance of “Tutti Frutti” at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans. John P. Kee performs “Standing in the Need” during the segment talking about one of Little Richard’s gospel music phases.
During these performances and in some footage of Little Richard, the documentary has visual effects of glowing dust that floats through the air, as if it’s some kind of magical aura from Little Richard that’s being passed though the ether. It’s not as cringeworthy as sparkling vampires in the “Twilight” movies, but it looks very over-the-top and quite unnecessary. Little Richard did not lead a fairytale life. There’s no need to conjure up images that he spread some kind of mystical dust, as if he’s some kind of character from a Disney animated movie. The fascinating stories told about Little Richard by himself and other people are more than enough to be intriguing.
Other people interviewed in the documentary include his cousins Newt Collier and Stanley Stewart; Little Richard’s former manager Ramon Hervey; filmmaker John Waters; ethnomusicologist Gredara Hadley; entertainment agent Libby Anthony; singer Nona Hendryx; historian Tavia Nyong’o; former Oakwood University classmate Dewitt Williams; former Little Richard road manager Keith Winslow, whose other was a teacher at Oakwood University; bass player Charles Glenn, who was in Little Richard’s band; booking agent Morris Roberts; and producer/songwriter Nile Rodgers, who says that David Bowie wanted Bowie’s 1983’s smash hit “Let’s Dance” album (which Rodgers produced) to be heavily influenced by Little Richard. The documentary could have used more interviews with female musicians other than Hendryx, but it’s an overall diverse mix of people.
“Little Richard: I Am Everything” keeps the storytelling lively, thanks to some great editing by Nyneve Laura Minnear and Jake Hostetter. There’s a particularly powerful montage near the end of the film that juxtaposes archival footage of Little Richard and all the artists who have been directly or indirectly influenced by him over the years, including Elton John, Bowie, Jagger, Prince, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, former “Pose” star Porter and Harry Styles. “Little Richard: I Am Everything” is a perfect title for this movie, because it shows how Little Richard was at times (often to a fault) all things to many people. However conflicted he might have been in his personal life and career, this documentary eloquently demonstrates how Little Richard represents the glory and pain of expressing yourself freely, no matter what the consequences.
Magnolia Films will release “Little Richard: I Am Everything” in select U.S. cinemas and on VOD on April 21, 2023, with sneak-preview screenings in select U.S. cinemas on April 11, 2023. CNN and HBO Max will premiere the movie on dates to be announced.
The following is a press release from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP):
NAACP unveiled the full list of 54th NAACP Image Awardsnominees with ABC and Netflix leading the pack with 28 and 15 nominations respectively. The winners will be revealed during the two-hour LIVE TV special, airing Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 8:00 PM ET on BET and 8:00 PM PT on delay. The show will be in front of an audience for the first time in three years.
Netflix and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lead nominations across the motion picture categories with 15 and 12 nominations respectively. ABC and Abbott Elementary received the most nominations in the television + streaming categories with 28 and nine nominations respectively. Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are tied for the most nominations in the music recording categories (5 respectively). RCA Records / RCA Inspiration received the most nominations across record labels (11). Penguin Random House and Harper Collins lead nominations across literary categories (9).
“This year’s nominees have conveyed a wide range of authentic stories and diverse experiences that have resonated with many in our community, and we’re proud to recognize their outstanding achievements and performances,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP.
“We take pride in recognizing the trailblazing achievements and artistry of this year’s esteemed nominees and celebrating the powerful legacy of the NAACP,” said Connie Orlando, EVP of Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy, BET. “We look forward to bringing the Image Awards back to Pasadena in front of a live audience and delivering unforgettable moments that epitomize the brilliance of the Black community.”
The public can vote to determine the winners of the“54th NAACP Image Awards” by visiting www.naacpimageawards.net. Voting closes on February 10, 2023. Winners will be revealed during the “54th NAACP Image Awards” telecast on February 25, 2023, on BET. NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories February 20-24, which will stream on www.naacpimageawards.net. For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards.
Globally recognized as one of the most distinguished multicultural awards shows, the “54th NAACP Image Awards” will continue a tradition of excellence, uplifting values that inspire equality, justice, and progressive change, and highlighting artists committed to that purpose.
One of the most iconic annual celebrations of Black excellence, the NAACP Image Awards draws the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood. Previous years’ attendees and winners include Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Wizkid, Lizzo, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, Jamie Foxx, Chloe x Halle, Regé-Jean Page, Daniel Kaluuya, Michaela Coel, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Blair Underwood, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Marsai Martin, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Anthony Anderson, Sterling K. Brown, Loni Love, Sheryl Underwood, Halle Berry, Common, Dwayne Johnson, Audra Day, John Legend, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Oyelowo, Laverne Cox, Octavia Spencer, Issa Rae, Trevor Noah, Yara Shahidi, Danai Gurira, Jacob Latimore, Jill Scott, H.E.R., Jay Pharoah, Jemele Hill, Loretta Devine, Sylvester Stallone, Meta Golding, Michael Smith, Tyler James Williams, Ava DuVernay, the late Chadwick Boseman, and many more.
Camille Friend – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
Curtis Foreman, Ryan Randall – RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (Paramount+)
Louisa V. Anthony, Deaundra Metzger, Maurice Beaman – Till (United Artists Releasing/Orion Pictures)
Mary Daniels, Kalin Spooner, Darrin Lyons, Eric Gonzalez – All American (The CW)
Tracey Moss, Jerome Allen, Tamika Dixon, Lawrence “Jigga” Simmons, Jason Simmons – Fantasy Football (Paramount+)
OUTSTANDING SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
@Theconsciousless- George Lee
@thechristishow – Christianee Porter
@earnyourleisure – Troy Millings & Rashad Bilal
@KevOnStage – Kevin Fredericks
@lynaevanee – Lynae Vanee
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.
BET, a unit of Paramount (NASDAQ: PARAA; PARA; PARAP), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions, including BET+, the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience; BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, a growing BET festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.
Culture Representation: In the documentary film “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” a group of African American and white people (and a few Latinos), who are celebrities, historians or philanthropists, discuss the life and career of entertainer Dionne Warwick.
Culture Clash: In her long career, Dionne Warwick battled against racism, misogynistic rap music and prejudice against people with HIV/AIDS.
Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of Dionne Warwick fans, “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in biographies of entertainers who first made their mark in the 1960s.
“Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” is both a retrospective and an uplifting story about one of America’s most treasured entertainers/activists who is both celebrated and sometimes underrated for her breakthroughs. This documentary doesn’t uncover new information, but it’s a thoroughly engaging and comprehensive look at the life and career of the talented, sassy and outspoken Dionne Warwick. It would be a mistake to think that this movie won’t have much appeal to young people, because “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” has meaningful themes and life lessons that can relatable to people of any generation.
Directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner, “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. Warwick also participated in the making of the 2018 PBS documentary “Dionne Warwick: Then Came You,” which focuses mainly on Warwick’s music, whereas “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” includes not just her music career but it also takes a much deeper dive into her personal life and her activism. Warwick’s 2010 memoir “My Life, as I See It” also covers a lot of the same topics as these documentaries. In other words, there’s no shortage of Warwick’s first-hand accounts of her life story.
Fortunately, Warwick is a great raconteur with amusing wit and candid self-awareness. There could be dozens of documentaries about her, and she’s the type of person who will give something unique and different every time in her documentary interviews. “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” which unfolds in chronological order, has the expected telling of her experiences with fame and the challenges she’s encountered when people pressured her to be something that she wasn’t but she stayed true to herself.
Born in 1940, in East Orange, New Jersey, she describes her childhood in East Orange and nearby Newark as being in a family that was “middle-class and working.” Her father had various jobs, including being a Pullman porter, a music promoter and an accountant. Her mother was an electrical factory worker who also managed a gospel singing group called the Drinkard Sisters, which consisted of relatives on her mother’s side of the family. Warwick’s maternal aunt Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston) was a member of the Drinkard Sisters. Cissy Houston is one of the people interviewed in the documentary.
With all this music talent in one family, it was inevitable that Warwick would pursue a music career too. She says her first performance was at the age of 6, when she sang “Jesus Loves Me” in church. Warwick also says that it was also the first time she got a standing ovation. “Gospel will never be far from what I do,” Warwick comments.
Warwick grew up during an era when much of the U.S. had legal racial segregation, but she says in the documentary that East Orange was a very integrated city. “It was like the United Nations,” she quips. It might be why she didn’t want to be confined to doing music that was labeled as being for any particular race. During the early years of her career, racial segregation also extended to the music industry, which marketed pop music as “music for white people” and R&B music as “music for black people.” Radio station playlists also followed these narrow-minded race divisions.
It didn’t take long for people to notice her talent. In 1957, she performed with the Imperials during Amateur Night at the famed Apollo Theatre in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. They won that contest. “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” includes archival footage of that fateful performance.
She then became a backup singer, with credits that include the Drifters’ 1962 songs “When My Little Girl Is Singing” and “Mexican Divorce,” as well as Jerry Butler’s 1961 hit “Make It Easy on Yourself.” She stood out as a backup singer and was eventually signed to a record deal with Scepter Records as a solo singer. Warwick comments, “Thank God for my daddy, who negotiated my contract.” Warwick’s debut album, “Presenting Dionne Warwick,” was released in 1963.
The documentary repeats a fairly well-known story about how Warwick told the music producers of “Make It Easy on Yourself” that she didn’t like the results. That experience later became the inspiration for her 1962 song “Don’t Make Me Over,” which is a statement of Warwick’s refusal to be anybody but herself. It was an issue that would come up many times when people questioned her choices in songs, performing style or even her hairstyles and clothing.
For example, Warwick says in the documentary that when she was on tour with Sam Cooke, she ignored his advice to never turn her back to a white audience when she was singing. At shows where white people and black people would attend but would be racially segregated inside the venue, Warwick says she made a point of turning to sing to the black people, which meant that sometimes her back would be turned to the white people in the audience. It was Warwick’s way of telling the black people audience that even though they were being treated like second-class citizens by racist laws, the black people in the audience mattered to her.
Warwick also tells a story about the touring party going to a racially segregated restaurant, where a waitress took their menu order, but refused to let anyone in touring party sit in the restaurant. When Warwick cancelled the order because of this racist discrimination, the waitress then called the police on the touring party because Warwick didn’t talk to the waitress in a subservient way. Warwick says that Cooke got angry at Warwick because he thought Warwick defending herself from racism would get the entire touring party arrested.
Later in the documentary, Warwick says of the civil unrest and bigotry problems in the United States and elsewhere: “All of this craziness that happened in the ’60s, unfortunately, is happening again. What has changed? Nothing. But there is hope. Love is the answer.”
Warwick’s hit collaborations with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David are duly noted in the documentary. Bacharach is one of the people interviewed in the film. David passed away in 2012, at age 91. The collaborations between Warwick, Bacharach and David resulted in Warwick’s biggest hits in the 1960s, including “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”
In the documentary, Warwick talks about how her first major international success happened in Europe, but even her introduction to European audiences was marred by racism. Scepter Records put a photo of a white model on the cover of Warwick’s 1963 single “This Empty Place” when it was released in Europe, because the record company didn’t think European music buyers would respond to the song as well if Warwick’s photo was on the cover.
Warwick remembers European audiences being surprised and accepting when they would see her perform live for the first time and find out what she really liked like. She comments in the documentary: “Yeah, I ain’t white. I’m a tempting, teasing brown.”
Warwick adds, “My career really blossomed in Europe. It was exciting. I was treated like a little princess. It was a lot of fun.” She also talks about how actress/singer Marlene Dietrich became a mentor when Warwick spent time in Paris. Warwick says that Dietrich introduced her to haute couture fashion and encouraged Warwick to wear these types of designer clothes on stage.
With success comes inevitable criticism. Warwick often had to contend with people who would accuse her of “trying to be white” or “not being black enough” because her songs didn’t fit the expected R&B mold. (It’s the same criticism that her cousin Whitney Houston experienced when she became an instant crossover hit artist in the 1980s.) Not for nothing, Warwick became the first black artist to win a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal performance, for 1968’s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.” It was also the first of her six Grammy Awards.
Any major entertainer whose career lasts for more than 10 years has ebbs and flows. Warwick says that in the 1970s, when her career was in a slump, Arista Records founder Clive Davis (one of the people interviewed in the documentary) convinced her not to quit the music business and signed her to a record deal. In 1979, she had a huge comeback hit with “I’ll Never Love This Way Again,” which earned her another Grammy Award.
“Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” also includes a big segment on Warwick’s activism for AIDS causes. Several people in the documentary credit her with being one of the first celebrities to become an AIDS activist. Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John—her song partners in the 1985 mega-smash hit “That’s What Friends Are For” (another Grammy winner and a fundraising song for the AIDS charity amfAR)—share their thoughts on the experience and the impact that the song had for AIDS causes.
John says of Warwick: “She’s a hero of mine. She was one of the first people in the music business to speak up about [AIDS].” The documentary also shows Warwick meeting with amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost and designer/philanthropist Kenneth Cole at amfAR headquarters in New York City. Frost says that Warwick’s AIDS fundraising (including donating all of her royalties from “That’s What Friends Are For”) made a crucial difference in improving healthcare, research and other assistance for people with AIDS.
In the 1990s, Warwick spoke out against rappers having misogynistic lyrics in their music, even though she got some backlash for it. Snoop Dogg talks about how a meeting that he and other rappers had with Warwick in her home made such an impact on him, he decided to no longer have degrading lyrics about women in his songs. Snoop Dogg says the turning point was when Warwick got him to really think about how he would feel if someone used those misogynistic words on her or any of his female family members.
“Not much scares us,” Snoop Dogg comments on that pivotal meeting, “but this had us shook! We were the most gangsta you could be. But that day at Dionne Warwick’s, we got out-gangsta’d.” Warwick says of that experience of having a group of gangsta rappers in her home: “My sons thought I was out of my mind.”
Warwick also talks about her personal life, including briefly dating Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1960s (whom she also calls her “mentor” when she first performed in Las Vegas), and having a volatile marriage to actor/jazz musician William Elliott. The first time they married in 1966, they got divorced less than a year later. They remarried in 1967 and then got divorced again in 1975.
The former couple’s sons David Elliott and Damon Elliot are interviewed in the documentary. David mentions that his mother would sometimes divert her tour, just so she could go to one of his Little League games. “Those were special times,” he comments. Damon adds, “She’s the everything of the family.”
Friends and relatives say Warwick was devastated by the deaths of Whitney Houston (in 2012) and Whitney and Bobby Brown’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown (in 2015), who both died of drowning-related causes in a bathtub. The documentary includes a clip of Warwick’s speech at Whitney’s funeral. In a documentary interview, Warwick says she misses Whitney and Bobbi Kristina tremendously and thinks about them every day. Warwick is philosophical when she says that whatever time people have on Earth is best used in service of others.
Warwick also opens up about filing for bankruptcy in 2013, which her son Damon says happened because of “having an accountant who screws you over.” Warwick comments, “If General Motors can file for bankruptcy, why not Dionne Warwick?” There’s also acknowledgement that Warwick 1990s stint as a spokesperson for the Psychic Friends Network was a low point in her career.” Her son David says of her association with the Psychic Friends Network, “Unfortunately, it overshadowed her as a singer.”
As expected in a celebrity documentary such as “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” other notable people in the film have nothing but praise for the celebrity. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton mentions that when he was courting his wife Hillary during a trip to Northern California, he wanted to visit San Jose, because of Warwick’s song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.” He also says that when he was president of the U.S. in the 1990s, Warwick always pushed him to approve more federal funds for AIDS causes, and he appreciated how she always told him that whatever was given was “never enough.”
Barry Gibb talks about how he and Arista Records founder Davis had to work hard to convince Warwick to record the Gibb-written song “Heartbreaker,” which became a big hit for her in 1982. Gibb says, “If you want to make a great record, make a Dionne Warwick record.” Former U.S. congressman Charles Rangel gives the type of gushing comment that many of the other interviewee say in the documentary: “She is truly one of the greatest ambassadors of good will.”
Other interviewees in the documentary, whose screen time is really just reduced to sound bites, include Jesse Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana, Melissa Manchester, Chuck Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Smokey Robinson, Valerie Simpson, Apollo Theater historian Billy Mitchell, radio DJ Jerry Blavat and National Museum of African American History director Lonnie Bunch. Because of this over-abundance of praise, the movie often veers into looking more like a tribute. However, because the documentary doesn’t gloss over some of Warwick’s low points in her life, and she talks about these low points, it’s saved from being a superficial, fluffy film.
Even when Warwick makes a self-congratulatory statement in the documentary, such as, “I am a messenger. I am carrying messages of love and hope,” it’s not too grandiose in the context of this film. “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” has plenty of evidence of Warwick’s lifelong actions for worthy humanitarian causes. Most of all, the documentary is testament to Warwick being an example of someone who can have staying power in showbiz without having to invent any personas and without compromising who she really is.
CNN will premiere “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” on January 1, 2023.
Culture Representation: In the documentary film “Ellis,” a predominantly African American group of people (with some white people), who are all connected in some way to jazz musician Ellis Marsalis Jr., discuss his life and career.
Culture Clash: Marsalis overcame obstacles in a racist music industry to become an influential jazz artist and producer.
Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of Ellis Marsalis Jr. fans, “Ellis” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching an easygoing but not particularly exciting documentary about a famous jazz musician.
Although “Ellis” often looks like a unchallenging tribute film to a music icon, it can maintain viewer interest because of the people interviewed in the documentary and for offering some enjoyable performance footage. This documentary about jazz legend Ellis Marsalis Jr. plays it very safe, but it’s an insightful look into his professional and personal life. He participated in this documentary, which was his last film project before he died at age 85 of COVID-19-related pneumonia in 2020. “Ellis” is also the first feature-length documentary specifically about him.
Directed by Sascha Just, “Ellis” lets the movie’s namesake do much of the talking in telling his life story. His memories and stories (which sometimes ramble and could have used tighter editing) shape the narrative of the documentary, which has the expected mix of interviews, archival footage and exclusive footage that is new to this film. “Ellis,” which is Just’s feature-film directorial debut, had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2022.
“Ellis” is told mostly in chronological order, with Ellis starting off by talking about his childhood and how he got into music. His parents (Ellis Marsalis Sr. and Florence Robertson) came from fairly different backgrounds. Robertson was a Creole from New Ellis, Louisiana. Ellis Sr. was a non-Creole from Summit, Mississippi. Ellis Jr. was born and raised in New Orleans, which has long been considered the American city most associated with jazz.
Ellis says of his early years as a musician: “I was learning the craft by way of bebop.” He took up playing the clarinet because he admired Artie Shaw. In high school, he listened to R&B, but jazz would eventually become his passion. However, because music education at the time was focused on European-based music (classic music or opera), Ellis remembers he couldn’t play jazz around the Catholic nuns who taught at the schools he attended. His mother bought him a tenor saxophone, but he also started playing the piano, which became his favorite instrument.
Instead of becoming a professional musician after graduating from high school, Ellis decided he would get a college education first at Dillard University. He graduated in 1955. His father paid for the tuition, even though Ellis says that his father (who owned a hotel on property that he owned) was skeptical that a college education would be beneficial to a black man in America at the time. Ellis Jr. saw things differently: “Being in the classroom was the closest thing between not having to pick up that mop and broom.
Ellis says of his father: “He didn’t want to work for anyone,” and Ellis Jr. inherited some of that entrepreneurial spirit by becoming an independent musician for hire. And his appreciation for education served him well when he became music teacher to help pay the bills when he wasn’t making enough money as a musician. He comments, “People who understood the economics of the situation could put a hustle together.”
Growing up in racially segregated Louisiana had an effect on him too, but Ellis doesn’t dwell on the negative experiences in this documentary. He says of spending a great deal of his life living with racist segregation: “It affected lots of stuff: the way you talked, the way you dressed, the way you studied in school.”
Ellis’ mentor at Dillard University was Harold Battiste, who would go on to found All for One (AFO) Records. As poet Kalamu ya Salaam says in the documentary about Battiste: “He had a vision that was just broader than playing music. He wanted to produce music. He wanted black people of his time and place to control and own their music.” Ellis Jr. was one of the artists who recorded music for AFO.
In the documentary, Ellis’ son Jason remember discovering an AFO Records box set at the age of 10 and hearing his father’s music and being surprised that it was so different from what he expected: “II couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was hearing the music that is not the kind of music that people think of when they think of the city of New Orleans, to this day.”
Ellis tells some entertaining stories about his travels as a young musician, when he would go on the road with Battiste and drummer Edward Blackwell. For a while, he lived in New York City, but eventually returned to New Orleans. Except a period of time (1986 to 1989), when Ellis and his family lived in Richmond, Virginia, he would live in New Orleans for the rest of his life.
Ellis met his future wife Dolores Ferdinand at a racially segregated beach in Louisiana called Lincoln Beach. He asked for her phone number, and one of his friends said to him: “Why do you want to do that? You’re not going to call her.” Ellis quips in the documentary: “He was wrong.”
The courtship of Ellis and Dolores was somewhat interrupted in 1957, when Ellis enlisted in the U.S. Marines. He comments on his military experience: “In the Marine Corps, they look for normal people they can teach how to kill people.” He also remembers that he didn’t write too many love letters to Dolores while he was in the Marines.
After getting out of the military, he and Dolores married and would go on to have six sons together: Wynton, Branford, Jason, Delfeayo, Ellis III and Mboya Kenyatta. All of them (except for Mboya Kenyatta, who has autism) are professional musicians who have performed as solo artists and as members of the Marsalis Family band. Wynton, Branford, Jason, Delfeayo and Ellis III are all interviewed in the documentary.
Ellis describes his marriage to Dolores (who died in 2017) as generally happy but sometimes strained due the financial pressures of raising a large family on a musician’s salary that wasn’t always steady a income. Ellis comments, “I never developed a defeatist attitude about it. I always figured somehow it would work out.”
Even though money was often tight for the Marsalis family, Ellis says that Dolores told him never to give up on being a musician, even when he contemplated quitting music to become a taxi driver. To supplement his income, Ellis continued teaching music. In the 1970s, he was a teacher at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, where his students included Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr. and actor Wendell Pierce. (Ellis would later be the jazz program chairperson at the University of New Orleans, from 1989 to 2001.)
In the documentary, Pierce shares his memories of having Ellis as a teacher. Pierce says that his first impression of Ellis was that he was “a wise sage with a great sense of humor … He put you at ease, and gave you a sense that you were going to figure it out.” At the same time, “He was a touch teacher and a tough mentor.”
Ellis’s children say in the documentary that he was not the type of father who pushed or pressured his children into following in his footsteps. Branford remembers that his father didn’t force him to practice music. Delfeayo adds, “Yeah, he was very laid-back. Wynton comments, “he didn’t make me play in his band,” but “I loved and respected him so much.” ” Branford adds, “He wasn’t materialistic or ambitious. He just wanted to play.”
Ellis also talks about how he and Dolores were civil rights activists who were very outspoken about their rights, and they taught their children to be the same way. Wynton says, “She was very direct about any of the issues.”
The performance footage in “Ellis” includes him performing at Jazz Fest in 1994, a Marsalis Family performance at Jazz Fest in 2001, and a 2019 solo artist performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. His songs that are featured in the movie include “Nostalgic Impressions,” “Canadian Sunset,” Magnolia Triangle,” “Basic Urge,” “Tell Me,” “After and Monkey Puzzle.” As for his favorite recordings that he’s done, Ellis narrows it down to the Ellis Marsalis Trio music that he recorded on Blue Note Records and the 1996 “Loved Ones” album that he recorded with son Branford.
Other people interviewed the documentary are Ellis’ colleagues. They include pianist David Torkanowsky, trumpeter Ashlin Parker, saxophonist Derek Douget, pianist Tom McDermott, drummer Helen Riley, guitarist Steve Masakowski, former Musicians Village director Michele Brierre, and two of his former students: saxophonist John Ellis and pianist Jesse McBride. All of their comments are essentially praise-filled soundbites that don’t offer anything truly revealing.
“Ellis” is perfectly pleasant, but the movie might come across as a bit bland for people who have no interest in jazz music. The documentary could have used more meaningful stories about how Ellis Marsalis Jr. got inspired to write certain songs, or how he felt being the patriarch of a family of musicians. The movie’s production values are adequate. Mostly, “Ellis” tells his story in a simple but effective way, even if the movie doesn’t have anything new or surprising to reveal.