iHeartRadio Awards: Taylor Swift’s Vindication, Alicia Keys’ Kids, Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Rainbow’ Connection

Read on: Variety.

The iHeartRadio Music Awards show is many people’s favorite awards show of the year, by virtue of lasting only two hours. If it’s not music’s biggest night, it’s music’s shortest, which counts for a lot. But Thursday night’s telecast, broadcast live on…

LeRoy Bennett Keeps Top Acts Like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande in the Spotlight

Read on: Variety.

You might say that LeRoy Bennett is a shining light among lighting and production designers for pop music. Doing double duty creating both touring sets and their illumination, he started out with a 14-year run as Prince’s collaborator, went on to work …

20 Most Streamed Women in Apple Music History, From Ariana Grande to Lady Gaga (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Apple Music revealed its top 20 most streamed female artists in its history on Friday, in honor of International Women’s Day. Check out where some of the biggest names in music rank, including Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna.
1) Ariana Gran…

Ariana Grande Tops List of Most Streamed Female Artists on Apple Music (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ariana Grande is the most-streamed female artist in the four-year history of Apple Music, the service announced on Friday — just in time for International Women’s Day.

The 25-year-old “Thank U, Next” singer edges out Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Beyoncé on Apple Music’s “Top Women in Streaming” list, announced as the service is set to showcase several visionary female artists during March on its radio shows and curated playlists.

Grande is the first and only female artist to cross the 3 billion total streams threshold since Apple Music launched in mid-2015, according to an individual familiar with its streaming figures. She’s joined by Swift and Rihanna as the only three women in the 2 Billion or More Streams Club.

Also Read: Ariana Grande Fires Back at Grammys Producer Over Canceled Performance: ‘Now You’re Lying About Me’

Of course, Grande’s streaming numbers have been goosed by the success of her latest album, the Scooter Braun-produced “Thank U, Next,” which set an Apple Music record in its own right when it debuted in February with 185.4 million worldwide streams in its first week — the most by any male or female pop artist ever. That easily tops Ed Sheeran’s 107.5 million global streams — the most for a male pop artist — in the first week after “Divide” came out in 2017.

Nicki Minaj, meanwhile, edged out her rival Cardi B to close out the top 5. Cardi B still has some bragging rights, though: Her 2018 album “Invasion of Privacy” set an Apple Music record as the most streamed female R&B/hip-hop album in its first week of release, pulling in more than 100 million global streams.

Other noteworthy results include Lady Gaga coming in at number nine, Selena Gomez at number 14, and 17-year-old singer-songwriter Billie Eilish cracking the top 20. And for anyone wondering who is Apple Music’s most streamed artist, male or female, of all time, it’s Drake.

Also Read: Two ‘New’ Beyonce Albums Hit Spotify, Apple Music – Then Vanish Hours Later

As March continues, Apple Music will also release more than 100 Apple Music playlists, spanning upwards of 3,000 song, dedicated to female artists.

Below you can check out the full top 20 list of Apple Music’s “Top Women in Streaming”:

1)         Ariana Grande

2)          Taylor Swift

3)          Rihanna

4)          Beyonce

5)          Nicki Minaj

6)          Cardi B

7)          Adele

8)          Sia

9)          Lady Gaga

10)        Halsey

11)       Lana Del Rey

12)        SZA

13)        Demi Lovato

14)        Selena Gomez

15)        Katy Perry

16)        P!nk

17)        Camila Cabello

18)        Mariah Carey

19)        Ella Mai

20)        Billie Eilish

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LGBTQ Groups Fear Jussie Smollett Case Will Cast Doubt on Hate Crime Reports

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The greatest tragedy of the Jussie Smollett would be if it discourage anyone from coming forward to report a hate crime, according to leading LGBT anti-violence organizations.
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Grammy Awards Analysis: Women Seize the Spotlight, But Kendrick Lamar Still Can’t Catch a Break

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The 61st Grammy Awards was a night on which a hip-hop song won Song of the Year for the first time ever, a night when the boycotting Childish Gambino also won Record of the Year, and a night when Kacey Musgraves became the latest artist to beat Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year.

But above all, perhaps, it was a night when women stepped up on stage — as a Grammy host, Grammy performers and Grammy winners.

It’s not a coincidence that this happened one year after Recording Academy President Neil Portnow caused a post-Grammys stink by suggesting that women needed to “step up.” On this night, the Grammys paid more than lip service to the idea of female empowerment — or, at least, the idea of rewarding and spotlighting female artists.

Also Read: Grammy Awards 2019: Complete Winners List

On Sunday, the performances were heavily weighted toward female artists, host Alicia Keys consistently sounded the drumbeat for equality and the biggest ovations went to grand divas Dolly Parton and Diana Ross and relative newcomer Brandi Carlile — as well as surprise guest Michelle Obama.

And the voters leaned toward women, not just with Musgraves winning the final award of the night, but also with the winning albums in the country, rap, R&B and pop vocal fields coming from Musgraves, Cardi B, H.E.R. and Ariana Grande, respectively.

The keynote performance of the night, it seemed, was a whispered interlude by St. Vincent and Dua Lipa, who quietly intoned a refrain borrowed from Aretha Franklin: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

And when Dua Lipa won Best New Artist a few minutes later, the pointed nature of her comment was unmistakable: “I guess we stepped up.”

Also Read: Ariana Grande Tweets Grammys Thank You, Dress She Would Have Worn If She Hadn’t Opted Out (Photos)

Portnow, who is retiring later this year, took the stage himself after the ensuing commercial break, and made his own call for social change — which, in the recording industry, needs to involve an enormous number of recording jobs behind the scenes, in which women are extraordinarily scarce.

(One small step: Beck’s album “Colors” won in the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical category — and for the first time ever, a female mastering engineer, Emily Lazar, shared in the award.)

But while gender occupied center stage at this year’s Grammys, the same old story played out when it came to Kendrick Lamar.

Lamar, along with Drake and Childish Gambino, had declined to perform at this year’s Grammys, no doubt tired of years of winning in the rap categories and then losing in the prestige categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

So he stayed home on Sunday, even though the “Black Panther” soundtrack he’d overseen and masterminded was considered one of the front runners in the album category.

Also Read: Michelle Obama’s Grammys Remarks Drowned Out by Audience Applause

And sure enough, “Black Panther” lost to Musgraves’ “Golden Hour,” just as Lamar’s landmark albums “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “DAMN.” had lost to Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars, respectively. (And back in 2013, his “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” had lost to Daft Punk, although that Lamar album was never considered a favorite in the category.)

The difference this year is that while Lamar was shut out in the Grammys’ general-field categories, hip-hop was not. Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won Song of the Year, the first time a hip-hop song had ever captured that award, and added Record of the Year as well. Like Lamar, Gambino (the stage name of actor-director Donald Glover) opted neither to perform nor to attend, so he wasn’t on hand to accept those awards.

So even on a night when his musical genre made some significant inroads on the Grammys, Lamar still couldn’t catch a break. Good luck getting the guy to show up and perform on the Grammys’ big show next time he’s nominated, Recording Academy.

Also Read: From Katy Perry to Cardi B, the Grammys Most Outlandish Looks, Ranked (Photos)

Then again, the Academy might have nobody to blame but themselves, because the “Black Panther” loss could also have been a victim of the Grammys’ expansion of the top categories from five to eight nominees.

When the Motion Picture Academy expanded its Best Picture category, it also changed the way the vote was counted to prevent a film from winning with too small a percentage of the total vote. But the Grammys did not — and with eight nominees in Album, of the Year, six of which fall vaguely in the R&B/hip-hop field, they may have set up a situation in which the two albums that don’t fall into that genre, Musgraves’ and Brandi Carlilie’s, had an advantage because they were only splitting the vote two ways, not six ways.

Still, Sunday’s show wasn’t about vote-splitting or Kendrick-snubbing.

As Neil Portnow knows, his last show as head of the Recording Academy was about some people stepping up and others stepping out of the way.

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Ariana Grande Tweets Grammys Thank You, Dress She Would Have Worn If She Hadn’t Opted Out (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ariana Grande skipped the Grammy Awards, but still managed to make a speech after winning her first Grammy on Sunday.

The “thank u, next” singer won the best pop vocal album Grammy for “Sweetener.” She tweeted her gratitude — and several pictures of herself in the Zac Posen dress she would have worn if she’d attended the ceremony. She also offered praise of Janelle Monae’s performance.

“i know i’m not there tonight (trust, i tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and i know i said i try not to put too much weight into these things,” she tweeted. “but f— … this is wild and beautiful. thank you so much.”

Also Read: Ariana Grande Fires Back at Grammys Producer Over Canceled Performance: ‘Now You’re Lying About Me’

She also tweeted images of the dress she would have worn if she’d attended.

And she praised Janelle Monae’s showstopping performance: “so good so good so f—in real.”

The tweets ensured that Grande kept some limelight despite her decision to opt-out after a disagreement with Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich.

Ehrlich told The Associated Press on Thursday that the show had several conversations with Grande about potentially singing Sunday but she “felt it was too late for her to pull something together.”

Grande accused Ehrlich of lying about her.

“i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me. i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken,” she wrote Thursday. “it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend. i hope the show is exactly what you want it to be and more.”

She added: “i offered 3 different songs. it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. it’s about art and honesty. not politics. not doing favors or playing games. it’s just a game y’all.. and i’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me.”

Here are Sunday night’s tweets:

i know i’m not there tonight (trust, i tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and i know i said i try not to put too much weight into these things …. but fuck ……. ???? this is wild and beautiful. thank you so much.

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 10, 2019

???? @AlfredoFlores pic.twitter.com/bGfYbRR1nu

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 11, 2019

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