Beyoncé is now the undisputed Grammy champ of all time.
At the 65th annual Grammy Awards ceremony—held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday—Beyoncé won four Grammys, bringing her career-total to 32 Grammys—the most ever won by any artist. She broke the record previously held by classical music conductor Georg Solti, who has 31 Grammys.
Actress Viola Davis also had reason to celebrate, with her Grammy for the audiobook of her memoir, “Finding Me,” admitting her into the club of artists with an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar, Kirk Franklin, Maverick City Music and Samara Joy also won Grammys. And hip-hop got a massive and unforgettable spotlight at the event, with a star-studded performance paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Bronx-born hip-hop.
Trevor Noah hosted the ceremony, which was telecast live in the U.S. on CBS, while Paramount+ livestreamed the event. Several awards were handed out in the pre-telecast part of the ceremony that was livestreamed on Grammy.com. The Recording Academy votes for and presents the Grammy Awards.
Beyoncé’s four Grammy wins were 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 total of winning the most Grammy Awards of all time. In the R&B categories, other Black winners were Robert Glasper (Best R&B Album, for “Black Radio III”); Steve Lacy (Best Progressive R&B Album, for “Best Gemini Rights”); and Muni Long (Best R&B Performance, for “Hrs & Hrs”).
Beyoncé went into the ceremony with the most nominations (nine), but she wasn’t there to accept the televised award for Best R & B Song. It was announced on stage that she and husband Jay-Z were stuck in traffic at that time. However, Beyoncé was there to accept the prize for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album, and she got a standing ovation for her milestone Grammy achievement. In her brief acceptance speech, Beyoncé thanked God, her loved ones, and “the queer community for your love and for inventing the [dance/electronic] genre.”
Lizzo gave a joyful acceptance speech after her hit “About Damn Time” won for Record of the Year. She said, “I want to dedicate this award to Prince. When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music … I felt very misunderstood. I felt on the outside looking in, but I stayed true to myself, because I wanted to make the world a better place, so I had to be that change to make the world a better place.”
Lizzo added, “I’d like to believe that not only can people do good, but we are good, inherently. And anybody at home who feels misunderstood or on the outside looking in, like I did, just stay true to yourself. Because I promise you, you will find people, you will attract people in your life who believe in you and support you.” Lizzo ended the speech with a special shout-out to Beyoncé for being such a major inspiration to her.
Jazz artist Joy received won two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album (for “Linger Awhile”). In her acceptance speech for Best New Artist, Joy thanked family members, colleagues, and other supporters. She also had a message of staying authentic, by addressing the artists in the audience: “All of you have inspired me. You express yourselves for who you are authentically, so to be here, by being myself, for just being who I was born as, I’m just so thankful.”
Lamar had eight Grammy nominations this year, and he won three: Best Rap Performance (for “The Heart Part 5”); Best Rap Album (for Mr. “Morale & the Big Steppers”); and Best Rap Song (for “The Heart Part 5”). In his acceptance speech for Best Rap Album, he thanked his family and his fans, and hip-hop culture for “allowing me to evolve.” He also said that entertainers “say things to provoke thoughts and feelings and emotions. This was one of my toughest records to make, and it allowed me to do that and to share other people’s experience.” Lamar now has 17 Grammy Awards.
It was a big Grammy night for hip-hop, as Dr. Dre received the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. The Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective gives this award to people who have made a worldwide impact with Black music and in helping Black artists. LL Cool J presented the award to Dr. Dre, who said in his acceptance speech: “Hip-hop became a lifeline for me, growing up in Compton.” He thanked his collaborators and supporters, while adding: “What I love about this award is that it uses my name to inspire the next generation of artists, producers, and entrepreneurs to reach their greatness, and demand that from everybody around you. Never compromise your vision at all. Pursue quality over quantity.”
Dr. Dre’s speech was then followed by a hip-hop performance extravaganza to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop being invented. Taking the stage to perform various songs in a medley were a “who’s who” of hip-hop stars, including Big Boi, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella, Scarface, Swizz Beatz, and Too $hort. Questlove was the producer and musical director for this Grammy Awards segment, with music provided by The Roots and narration from Black Thought.
Another all-star performance was a collaboration between Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and country musician Chris Stapleton, to celebrate Smokey Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy being 2023 honorees for MusiCares Person of the Year. The trio performed a medley of three Motown classics: The Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown,” and Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”
DJ Khaled had a star-studded lineup of Black performers for a collaboration of his Grammy-nominated song “God Did,” where he was joined by Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, Fridayy, and Rick Ross. Migos member Quavo teamed up with Maverick City teamed up with for “Without You,” a tribute to the late Migos member Takeoff, during the ceremony’s In Memoriam segment. Black artists who also performed at the 2023 Grammy Awards were Lizzo (“About Damn Time” and “Special”) Mary J. Blige (“Good Morning Gorgeous”), and Grammy winner Lacy with Thundercat (“Bad Habit”).
At the pre-telecast portion of the Grammy ceremony, award-winning actress Davis became an EGOT winner (someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), by winning the Grammy for Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording for the audiobook of her 2022 memoir, “Finding Me.” Davis previously won an Oscar and a Tony for her roles in “Fences,” and she has an Emmy Award for her role in the TV series “How to Get Away With Murder.” Black presenters at the 2023 Grammy ceremony included Davis, SZA, Dwayne Johnson, Cardi B, Smokey Robinson, and Grammy host Noah.
Several other Black artists won Grammys, mostly in the pre-telecast part of the event. Maverick City (a music collective with a majority-Black membership) won four Grammy Awards. Maverick City’s “One Deluxe” won for Best Gospel Album. In addition, Maverick City’s collaborations with Franklin resulted in three Grammys: “One Deluxe” (Best Gospel Album); “Fear Is Not My Future” (Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song); and “Kingdom” (Best Gospel Performance/Song. Tennessee State University Marching Band won its first Grammy: Best Roots Gospel Album, for “The Urban Hymnal.”
The Grammy for Best Global Music Performance went to the song “Bayethe,” a collaboration between South African artists Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode and Wouter Kellerman. Best Reggae Album was awarded to Jamaican singer Kabaka Pyramid for “The Kalling.” Ranky Tanky—a majority-Black group from Charleston, South Carolina—won Best Regional Roots Music Album, for “Live at the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.”
Taj Mahal (who turns 81 years old this year) received his fourth Grammy: His “Get on Board” collaboration with white artist Ry Cooder won Best Traditional Blues Album. New Orleans icons Aaron Neville With the Dirty Dozen Brass Band won the Grammy for Best American Roots Performance, for their song “Stompin’ Ground.”
In addition to Joy, Black artists were winners in several of the jazz categories. Bijon Watson, white artist Steven Feifke, and Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra’s collaboration “Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra” got the prize for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Featuring the Congra Patria Son Jarocho Collective’s “Fandango at the Wall in New York” won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. Terri Lyne Carrington and Nicholas Payton were part of a multiracial group of solo musicians whose compilation “New Standards Vol. 1” won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Wayne Shorter and white artist Leo Genovese’s “Endangered Species” collaboration got them the Grammy for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
In non-music categories, Dave Chappelle won his fourth Grammy for Best Comedy Album (for “The Closer”), continuing his winning streak at the Grammys. (He’s won this Grammy award every time he’s been nominated in this category so far.) Meanwhile, J. Ivy won his first Grammy: His audio collection “The Poet Who Sat by the Door” took the prize for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.
Not everyone is happy with the Grammy Awards’ recognition of Black artists. Drake, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa, and Teyana Taylor have all publicly stated that they are boycotting the Grammys until further notice, because they think the Grammys and the Recording Academy are racist against Black artists for winning Album of the Year. Drake still won a Grammy in 2023: “Wait for U,” by Future featuring Drake and Tems, took the prize for Best Melodic Rap Performance. Lil Wayne has said in the past that he was boycotting the Grammys, but he changed his mind, because he was one of the artists who performed at the Grammy ceremony this year.
Whichever way that people might feel about these racism accusations, Black artists have been winning in the biggest Grammy categories in the past few years. In 2022, Jon Batiste won more Grammys (five, including Album of the Year) than any other artist that year. Anderson .Paak is one-half of Silk Sonic (his duo act with Bruno Mars), and the Silk Sonic hit “Leave the Door Open” won four Grammy Awards in 2022: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song—sweeping all the Grammy categories that Silk Sonic was nominated for that year.
And with Beyoncé now reigning as the artist who’s won the most Grammys Awards, and the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award created for industry movers and shakers in Black music, people can expect the Grammys to continue to be a showcase and celebration for Black excellence in music and the recording arts.
A complete list of winners can be found at the official Grammy Awards website, grammys.com.