Pop singer Billie Eilish took home Record of The Year for “Everything I Wanted” at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night (March 14), the second consecutive year she’s been awarded the honor.
But Eilish made it abundantly clear she wanted the award to go to Megan Thee Stallion for the “Savage (Remix)” and admitted she was “embarrassed” to win. The moment her name was announced, Eilish immediately covered her face and shook her head. Once she made it to the stage, she and her brother/producer Finneas stood there almost in shock.
“This is really embarrassing for me,” she said.” Megan, girl … I was going to write a speech about how you deserve this. But then I was like, ‘There’s no way they’re gonna choose me.’ I was like, ‘It’s hers.’ You are so beautiful. You are so talented. You deserve everything in the world. I think about you constantly. I root for you always.”
She added, “You deserve it, honestly. Genuinely, this goes to her. Can we just cheer for Megan Thee Stallion, please?”
The moment echoed the Grammys in 2012 when Macklemore bested Kendrick Lamar in the Album of the Year category for The Heist, ousting K. Dot’s 2012 effort good Kid, m.A.A.d. City. Shortly after Mack’s name was called, he sent a text to Kendrick insisting he should’ve won and posted it on Instagram for all to see.
“You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have,” Macklemore wrote in the text message. “It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you. I was gonna say that during the speech. Then the music started playing during my speech, and I froze. Anyway, you know what it is. Congrats on this year and your music. Appreciate you as an artist and as a friend. Much love.”
He captioned the Instagram post with,” My text to Kendrick after the show. He deserved best rap album. I’m honored and completely blown away to win anything much less 4 Grammys. But in that category, he should have won IMO, And that’s taking nothing away from The Heist. Just giving GKMC it’s proper respect.”
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Historically, these aren’t isolated incidences. Adele had a similar reaction when she beat Beyoncé in the Album of the Year category at the 2017 Grammys.
“I can’t possibly accept this award,” Adele said while delivering her speech. “I’m very humbled and very grateful and gracious but my artist of my life is Beyoncé, and that album to me, the Lemonade album, was just so monumental.”
A year prior, pop princess Taylor Swift and her 1989 project won Album of the Year over Kendrick’s masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly.
But Recording Academy president Neil Portnow claimed race isn’t the issue, telling Pitchfork at the time, “No, I don’t think there’s a race problem at all. Remember, this is a peer-voted award. So when we say the Grammys, it’s not a corporate entity—it’s the 14,000 members of the Academy.”
Macklemore, Adele and Billie Eilish have all done the “I won but a Black artist deserved this” speech and even when they right, it’s embarrassing for everyone involved! #GRAMMYs
— Kathleen Newman-Bremang (@KathleenNB) March 15, 2021
While Megan might not have walked away with Record of the Year, she still scooped up three gilded trophies in the Best New Artist, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance categories for the “Savage (Remix”) featuring Beyoncé.
Beyoncé also walked away with multiple awards — including Best R&B Performance for “Black Parade” and Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl” — making her the most decorated female artist in Grammy history with 28 trophies. For a list of winners, head here.