Kim Petras & Sam Smith made history, Beyoncé thanked the queer community at the Grammys

Kim Petras & Sam Smith made history, Beyoncé thanked the queer community at the Grammys
Kim Petras and Sam Smith. Photo: Screenshot

Kim Petras and Sam Smith’s “Unholy” made history once again at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. The hit single broke ground last October, becoming the first song by out trans and nonbinary artists to reach the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. On Sunday night, the song won the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, making Smith and Petras the first trans and nonbinary artists to win that award.

Petras acknowledged the milestone in her moving acceptance speech. “Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award, because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” she said to applause from the star-studded crowd. She went on to thank Madonna, as well as the trans artists who paved the way for her win, with a special shout out to producer and songwriter Sophie, who died in 2021.

“Sophie, especially,” Petras said. “My friend who passed away two years ago, who told me this would happen and always believed in me. Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”

Petras also delivered a poignant tribute to her mother: “I grew up next to a highway in nowhere Germany, and my mother believed me that I was a girl and I wouldn’t be here without her and her support and everyone who believed in me to this point.”

Smith and Petras also performed “Unholy” live, joined onstage by RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Gotmik and Violet Chachki.

Of course, Smith and Petras weren’t the only out LGBTQ+ artists to take home Grammys this year. Brandi Carlile’s “Broken Horses” won Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song, while Steve Lacy won Best Urban Contemporary Album for Gemini Rights.

Beyoncé made history as well, becoming the artist with the most Grammys ever. She scored wins for Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song, bringing her career total to 32 wins. Her win for Best Dance/Electronica Album for Renaissance also made her the first Black woman to win in that category, according to The New York Times.

“I’m trying not to be too emotional, and I’m trying to just receive this night,” Beyoncé said during her acceptance speech, in which she thanked her gay uncle who died of complications related to AIDS early in her career. “I’d like to thank my Uncle Johnny, who’s not here, but he’s here in spirit.”

Renaissance is a tribute to Black and queer house music, and Beyoncé also gave a shout-out to the LGBTQ+ community. “I’d like to thank the queer community for your love, and for inventing the genre. God bless you.”

Elsewhere in the ceremony, Queen Latifah was just one of a cavalcade of stars to perform during the Grammys’ tribute to 50 years of hip-hop.

Despite the evening’s rousing LGBTQ+ highlights, Grammy voters also awarded Dave Chappelle the award for Best Comedy Album for The Closer. The special, which premiered on Netflix in 2021, has been widely criticized as transphobic, and Chappelle’s win on Sunday sparked outrage on social media.

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