As the festivities wound down inside the Staples Center tonight, Academy president Neil Portnow made a late appearance in front of the press, and after being obviously frustrated that many were focused on what went wrong at the show, most prominently Adele's audio issues and Lauryn Hill leaving The Weeknd hanging at the last minute, he seemed genuinely excited when I asked him to talk about Kendrick Lamar's groundbreaking performance.
"What I said when I was asked what we're going to see from Kendrick, I said you're going to see something that's unbelievably powerful, and you're also going to see something that's a piece of art. To do what he did to put together, really that vignette, that works for a live audience and television, was really a masterpiece. From our standpoint, I'm very proud that happened on our stage, and I know that he is."
Considering that the overwhelming sentiment expressed both on Twitter and those I spoke to at the event was that Kendrick's performance most likely terrified mainstream America, it was powerful to hear Portnow support Kendrick's freedom of expression without even the slightest hint of hesitation. However, it has to be said that while the GRAMMYs may have backed Kendrick's performance, when it came time to hand out the big awards they seemed particularly disinterested in inviting K. Dot into the major leagues.
Unfortunately, Portnow's handler cut off the conversation before I could follow-up with a question regarding Kendrick's wins and losses - in fairness he had far more important things to do with his time than talk to me and I was lucky to get that one question in - so I'll just have to make sure I remember this tweet for next year's award ceremonies. I just can't shake the feeling that the GRAMMYs wants hip-hop's audience watching its telecast much more than it wants to hand out the big awards to hip-hop artists. TDE might just have to put a call in to the White House, if Obama's determined to push through some change on his way out maybe he can fix the GRAMMYs once and for all.