But the silence of 21 Savage’s peers during the ceremony proved far more disappointing. Post Malone, nominated with Savage for two awards for “Rockstar,” was silent on the issue during his performance of the song (after the show, a representative emailed The FADER a picture of Malone backstage at the Grammys wearing a shirt reading “21 Savage”). Drake used his speech accepting Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan” to issue an indictment of awards shows’ own cultural fallacies, but a statement of solidarity for his “Sneakin” companion could’ve had greater impact — and the same goes for Cardi B, who left off 21’s name as she ran through the names of artists who had contributed to Invasion of Privacy during her flustered speech accepting Best Rap Album.
But speaking out shouldn’t just fall on hip-hop artists’ shoulders; presenters and award-winners from across the musical spectrum stayed silent. 21 Savage’s co-manager said his team asked “several artists” to speak up on his behalf, but none did. Ironically, “This Is America” producer Ludwig Göransson was the first artist to mention 21’s name during the telecast, thanking him and saying he “should be here.” In a way, he was, but as an indictment of the music industry and his peers. In a just world, the 62nd Grammy Awards would spend a significant amount of time atoning for this systemic rot, too.