by Mia McKenzie
I’m a big Adele fan. I have been for years. I own all of Adele’s albums and I know the words to all of her songs. If you see me walking with earbuds in, there’s a pretty good chance I’m listening to Adele. Her music has felt, for me, in times of heartbreak, especially, real and raw and connected. It’s helped get me through some stuff. I love Adele.
I became a Beyoncé fan more recently. Over the last year or so, Bey’s music and imagery have taken me from “I don’t really have an opinion on her,” to “HOLY SHIT BEYONCE IS EVERYTHING OH MY GAAAAAAAWD!!!!!!” Formation tipped the scale. The release of the Lemonade visual album, and her words in support of Black resistance, made me a solid believer. I really like Beyoncé a lot.
My affection for both Beyoncé and Adele might have you thinking that last night’s Grammy showdown had me on edge. It didn’t, though. I never even watch awards shows and my attempt to watch last night was thwarted by CBS’ janky-ass live stream. I turned it off at like 9:15, expecting Beyoncé to win Album of the Year. I expected that because I believe she deserved to win and that there could be no legitimate argument otherwise. When I woke up this morning and found out she didn’t win, I was…perturbed.
Lemonade is a better album than 25. It just is.
But that’s not what this piece is about.
What this piece is about is what happened after Adele won. It’s about Adele’s speech saying it should have been Beyoncé and what her saying that means. And does not mean.
Firstly, I see Adele’s praise of Beyoncé last night as a sincere gesture. I think she meant every word of it, including that she voted for Lemonade. I see her words as: a white woman understanding that a Black woman was slighted and maybe even that her race and gender have something to do with it. After all, only three Black women have ever won the Grammy for Album of the Year and the last was Lauryn Hill in 1999. I’ve never been a baker of “ally” cookies and I’m damn sure not going to start now, but I think Adele’s words about Beyoncé were nice, important ones and I’m glad she said them.
What Adele’s words weren’t: actions…