In recent years, the Grammy Awards have taken advantage of having so many top artists in one place by taping a second show a day or two after the main Grammy ceremony, all-star tributes to artists like Prince, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and others. While this year was different in many ways, they did it again, but rather than honoring a single artist, the Grammys decided to embrace their recent diversity agenda — evidenced by BMAC and honor “Sounds of Change — the iconic songs that inspired social change and left an everlasting imprint on history.” While the Grammy tributes usually air a few weeks after the big show, this one is airing tonight, just three days later, from 9 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET/PT.
The special will be hosted by Common and include appearances by Yolanda Adams, Leon Bridges, Eric Church, D Smoke, Andra Day, Sheila E., Cynthia Erivo, the Estefans (Emily, Emilio and Gloria), John Fogerty, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Terrace Martin, Brad Paisley, Billy Porter, LeAnn Rimes, and Chris Stapleton performing songs “that have seen us through the darkest hours and greatest triumphs,” according to the announcement. Artists across genres will highlight the stories behind, and deliver personal interpretations of, the powerful music that inspired social justice and equality. Also, presenters from the worlds of entertainment, art and activism will look back at some of the most iconic Grammy performances and moments in history.
“A Grammy Salute To The Sounds Of Change” is produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment. Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay are executive producers. Chantel Sausedo and Rob Paine are producers. Adam Blackstone serves as the musical director.
While the 2021 Grammys suffered surprisingly low television ratings, creatively the show was widely considered a triumph — a reimagining of what an awards show can be, particularly during a pandemic. Featuring an indoor in-the-round set-up, not unlike Jools Holland’s in the U.K., artists were able to watch each other as they performed — which, considering the lack of live music for the last year, was a rare luxury afforded to the few and mighty. In addition, elaborate pre-taped performances allowed for the spectacle one would want from a music show.
There was plenty of pizzaz and plenty of prizes to go around as many winning artists walked home with one major-ish award each — Beyonce scored four (two for her feature on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage”), H.E.R. and Billie Eilish nabbed two a piece and Meghan Thee Stallion had three. Democracy is clearly back. But it also left a sense that there wasn’t a clear frontrunner in the contest this year — perhaps a result of how people’s music consumption has changed during a pandemic.