Hosted by Trevor Noah, the 2021 Grammys took place on March 14, featuring artist performances from Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and Harry Styles. But which young artists won big? Here are the Gen Z Grammy Award winners (and the Gen Zers we believe should’ve won).
Blue Ivy Carter
Best Music Video
Following in the footsteps of Queen Beyoncé, Blue Ivy won her Grammy at just 9 years old for “Brown Skin Girl,” a music video produced alongside Beyoncé, Saint Jhn, and Wizkid. She made history this year as the second-youngest person to ever win a Grammy. Along with the Grammy, Blue Ivy also recently won the BET Award in 2020 at the age of 8 for the same collaboration.
Winner in Best Song for Visual Media
19-year-old Billie Eilish is the essence of Gen Z. It’s been six years now since she rose to fame with her song, “Ocean Eyes”, and since then, the icon has earned more than 17 awards, from Grammys to MTV, and was placed on TIME’s “Time 100 Next” list in 2019. Eilish is also the youngest and first female artist to win the four major Grammy categories in 2020. Recently, Eilish starred in a documentary titled, The World’s a Little Blurry.
Eilish also dedicated her win to Megan Thee Stallion, who dominated TikTok trends pioneered by Gen Z. Trend #10 on our 2020 Trend Report higlighted WAP by Stallion as a Tik Tok movement.
Fans also know and love Eilish for her comfortable fashion sense, usually consisting of baggy clothing. She mentioned that she dresses in baggy clothes to stop body shaming.
Her awards and iconic style hardly cover Eilish’s true value. Through her art, Eilish has created open conversation surrounding mental health. The artist has shared personal experiences with Tourette Syndrome, body dysmorphic disorder, and depression. Her impact goes far beyond just creating songs; Eilish changes lives.
Winner in Best R&B song and Song of the Year
H.E.R. (Having Everything Revealed) started producing music at the young age of 14. Now a 23-year-old, H.E.R. has amassed over 3.8 million followers and won an impressive 13 awards. The artist produces primarily R&B music, including popular songs like, “Slow Down” and “Fight For You”.
Her vulnerability in her music is one of the most unique things about H.E.R. As a part of the Black Lives Matter movement, in June 2020, H.E.R released “I Can’t Breathe,” honoring George Floyd.
In an exclusive with Entertainment Tonight, the artist stated, “I’m so blessed because, you know, we had such a tough year and the fact that I can still do what I love and give people hope through music, and just do me and reach these higher heights, it feels crazy, and I’m excited.”
Who was snubbed?
Though young artists scored huge wins last night, other Gen Z artists definitely deserved better.
22-year-old Roddy Ricch, who released the 2020 hit, “The Box,” was nominated for four awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Melodic Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song. Ricch also gave a stunning performance of “Rockstar” at this year’s show with DaBaby.
Chloe x Halle was also nominated for several awards this year, but unfortunately, did not win. The R&B sister duo took the loss incredibly well, stating they “felt grateful and honored.” Their character and their music are both admirable and the two artists undoubtedly deserved more. Despite being separated by distance due to the pandemic, Chloe x Halle continued to create and share their love for music.
Gen Z’s impact on the music industry
Although the pandemic has been a constant presence in our lives, the Grammys have shown us the importance of music and the determination of artists to keep creating. Apps like Tik Tok have evolved the industry, placing Gen Z at center-stage. Young people in the music industry are often underestimated, and these winners have exemplified the strength and flexibility of Gen Z artists.
JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z, or sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Screenshot, to get Gen Z insights straight to your inbox.