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2021 Grammy Recap: Winners, Performers

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The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards kicked off Sunday night on CBS. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah hosted the ceremony from the Los Angeles Convention Center, in a departure from its usual home at the Staples Center.

What We Know:

  • Due to the ongoing pandemic, like other award shows this year, the Grammys were held without a live audience. Still, there were several performances from the likes of Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, and Roddy Rich, among others.
  • The Grammy Awards often draw criticism for its controversial nominations and winners. Specifically, fans and artists alike point to the awards’ lack of inclusion when it comes to artists of color and the many times those artists have been snubbed for major awards. In 2014, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, a white duo from Seattle, infamously won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album over Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. The Compton native was nominated for seven awards that night, winning none while Macklemore walked away with four. 2017 was no different, with the British-born Adele winning Album of the Year for 25 over Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
  • Ahead of the awards on Sunday night, The Weekend announced he would no longer submit his music for consideration. The Weekend, who headlined the Super Bowl Halftime Show last month, was outraged after his hit album After Hours received zero nominations. Citing the predominantly white “secret committees” who determine the nominations and have been accused of bias in the past, The Weekend stated he’ll be boycotting the Grammys going forward. Zayn Malik tweeted in support of him, calling for transparency of the nomination process and an end to favoritism.

  • Nevertheless, it was a historic night for women and Black artists: Taylor Swift became the first woman to win Album of the Year three times with Folklore. In the R&B categories, John Legend won Best Album for Bigger Love, while Thundercat won Best Progressive Album for It Is What It Is. However, Beyoncé stole the show with nine nominations–more than any other artist that night. She won Best R&B performance for Black Parade, while her collab with Megan Thee Stallion on Savage: Remix earned her a record-setting 28th Grammy win–the most by any female artist or singer. In addition, her daughter Blue Ivy became the second youngest Grammy winner after providing extra vocals for Beyoncé’s Best Music Video winning Brown Skin Girl. Megan Thee Stallion won the Grammy award for Best New Artist herself and captivated audiences alongside Cardi B with an electric performance of their hit song “WAP.”

  • Kaytranada became the first black musician to win a Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy with Bubba. Kanye West won yet another Grammy in Best Contemporary Christian Music for his album Jesus is King. Fans were shocked, as West famously posted a video of himself last year urinating on one of his previous 21 trophies. After 14 nominations, NAS finally got his first Grammy with King’s Disease in the Best Rap Album category. The vocalist H.E.R. took home the award for Song of the Year with I Can’t Breathe, a stirring track on police brutality.
  • In what was perhaps the best performance of the night, the rapper Lil Baby gave his own powerful take on police brutality with a visceral performance of his hit, “The Bigger Picture.” The Atlanta-native was joined on stage by Killer Mike and Tamika Mallory to perform the Black Lives Matter anthem.

  • Moreover, it was the Korean pop group and worldwide sensation BTS who wowed viewers at the end of the night. Performing their English-language hit “Dynamite,” the group became the first South Korean act to perform at the award show, an important milestone in the Grammy’s work to increase diversity.

The full list of the Grammy nominees and winners can be found here.

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Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

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Coronavirus

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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Florida recently saw 10,207 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus cases, the highest number since July 23, 2020.

What We Know:

  • On July 23, 2020, Florida reached a high of 10,170 hospitalizations, just six months before the COVID-19 vaccine became available. The new record makes Florida the leader in per capita hospitalizations for the virus.
  • Most of the new cases come from the highly contagious Delta variant. On average, Florida sees 1,525 adult and 35 children hospitalizations daily. In addition, Saturday revealed a peak in positive numbers, as the stated reported  21,683 occurrences of COVID-19. The day prior, the Sunshine State saw 17,093 cases.
  • Many hospital employees believed the excess hospitalizations would end soon because of an increase in vaccinations. However, the Delta variant changed all this. The Associated Press wrote that several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic Florida and the UF Health North emergency room, needed to operate overcapacity and put beds in hallways to treat patients; the Mayo Clinic will continue to do so until the current surge ends. In Tampa, some local ambulances already needed to divert ambulances to other locations because of capacity concerns.
  • The higher numbers also are a direct result of a loosening of restrictions and a governor’s stubbornness. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis actively declares he will not enact any more mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Along with the state Legislature, this makes it difficult for local officials to impose restrictions that will ease the positive numbers.
  • Medical officials scorned DeSantis for his adamance on the issue. Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care, commented that the state would not be in its position now if DeSantis focused more on lowering cases than proving Dr. Anthony Fauci wrong. Gainesville infectious disease expert Dr. Frederick Southwick agreed with Ashby’s statement, saying that DeSantis needed to stop acting like “Florida won the pandemic.”

DeSantis recently announced that Florida would resist any federal authorities’ campaigns to enforce mask mandates inside schools despite the criticism.

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NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

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NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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