Mary J. Blige, the undisputed queen of hip-hop soul, rocked the Los Angeles Staples Center last night, winning three awards at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.
Blige’s heartfelt acceptance speech for Best R&B album proved more than fitting for the singer, who’s enjoying the most celebrated album of her career. “For so many years I had been talked about negatively, but this time, I’ve been talked about positively by so many people. I want to use this success to build bridges, not to burn them”, she said, before quickly reading off more than 55 thank-yous.
Blige took home two more well-deserved wins for “Be Without You”—Best Female R&B Vocal performance and Best R&B song (a songwriter’s award she shares with Johnta Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jason Perry). We’re still scratching our heads however over Ludacris’s win for Best Rap album over T.I.’s multiplatinum release King (but hey, that’s just us). The brilliant duo Gnarls Barkley (members Cee-Lo and DJ Danger Mouse) continue flying high on their infectious hit, “Crazy,” even performing the song in pilot uniforms, by snagging two Grammy’s for Best Alternative Music album and Best Urban/Alternative performance.Stevie Wonder is still a wonder, winning his twenty-second award for re-creating “For Once In My Life” with Tony Bennett. The duo won for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
If there were an award for best Grammy performance, we’d give it hands down to Christina Aguilera for her soulful rendition of the late, great James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s World.” Wearing a white pantsuit, the singer took to the ground belting out the final notes, bringing the jaded crowd of music movers and shakers to their feet for a standing ovation. Even nominee Jamie Foxx gave his vote of approval, giving the pop singer props as the camera rolled past him. We agree, Jamie, that girl can sang.
A complete list of winners in the R&B, rap, blues, gospel and reggae categories:
Female R&B Vocal Performance:“Be Without You,” Mary J. Blige
Pop Collaboration With Vocals: “For Once in My Life,” Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder
Rap Album: Release Therapy, Ludacris
R&B Album: The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals: “My Humps,” Black Eyed Peas
Pop Instrumental Performance: “Mornin’,” George Benson (& Al Jarreau)
Alternative Music Album: St. Elsewhere, Gnarls Barkley
Rap Solo Performance: “What You Know,” T.I.
Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: “Ridin,” Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone
Rap/Sung Collaboration: “My Love,” Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.
Rap Song: “Money Maker,” Christopher Bridges and Pharrell Williams (Ludacris featuring Pharrell)
Urban/Alternative Performance: “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley
Male R&B Vocal Performance: “Heaven,” John Legend
R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals: “Family Affair,” (Sly and the Family Stone), John Legend, Joss Stone with Van Hunt
Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: “God Bless the Child,” George Benson and Al Jarreau featuring Jill Scott
R&B Song: “Be Without You,” Johnta Austin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jason Perry (Mary J. Blige)
Contemporary R&B Album: B’Day, Beyoncé.
Traditional Blues Album: Risin’ With the Blues, Ike Turner
Contemporary Blues Album: After the Rain, Irma Thomas
Jazz Vocal Album: Turned to Blue, Nancy Wilson
Gospel Performance: “Victory,” Yolanda Adams
Gospel Song: “Imagine Me,” Kirk Franklin (Kirk Franklin)
Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: Wherever You Are, Third Day
Traditional Gospel Album: Alive in South Africa, Israel and New Breed
Contemporary R&B Gospel Album: Hero, Kirk Franklin
Reggae Album: Love Is My Religion, Ziggy Marley
Traditional World Music Album: Blessed, Soweto Gospel Choir
Photo Credit: Reuters