No Drake, Childish Gambino or Kendrick Lamar? Basically, Cardi B Is Putting on the 2019 Grammy Halftime Show

Cardi B performs onstage during Day 3 of Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest on February 2, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

It’s about that time—the 2019 Grammys ceremony is coming up soon! However, it looks like the awards show deemed “music’s biggest night” had a tough time booking performers.

According to the New York Times, major artists in the pop and hip hop industries including Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Childish Gambino—have opted not to perform at the show.

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“You know, this is a fluid process and there are always conversations with artists who are nominated trying to figure it out,” stated Recording Academy president and CEO, Neil Portnow via Rolling Stone. “Not every artist at every time is available. Not every artist will necessarily feel like they want to do something that perhaps we feel is appropriate. And remember, it’s a three-and-a-half hour performance; you have 20-plus performances; we have to have a macro view on it. So we always love our nominees, we always try to do the best we can in terms of balance, and because it’s live, I can’t exactly tell you until Sunday morning how it’s going to turn out. Until we get to Sunday, things are in flux and we will have to see.”

“In flux?” Sounds like the state of another academy-based awards ceremony...

Anywho.

The major performers of the night will definitely include H.E.R., Janelle Monae, Cardi, and Diana Ross, so this ceremony is looking to be a true black matriarchy.

Then, add the fact that the MC of the night will be none other than multi-Grammy award winner, Alicia Keys.

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I attended the 61st Annual Grammys Red Carpet Rollout and Preview Day on Thursday morning, where Keys spoke on the importance of being a woman hosting the Grammys, which is a huge deal. As Slate pointed out, she will be the first female host in 14 years.

“The beautiful part of this moment is that we get to see a wide spectrum of all the versions that represents us as people, and I think as a woman. There’s so many sides that represent us as women and I’d love to express all of that,” Keys noted. And to be a black woman who gets to express that? An even huger deal.

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Keys promised a host of exciting surprises for the night, so we shall see how it goes.

Cardi is clearly the headliner here. Staff Writer Anne Branigin nailed it on the head when she quipped, “Basically, Cardi is putting on the Grammy halftime show.” And having Ms. Ross perform during her honoree segment is the cherry on top of a black girl magical sundae. Speaking of Motown artists, Jennifer Lopezknown for exceptional dancing, not so much for exceptional singingwill be performing a Motown tribute that is probably going to give me wrinkles from the constant brow-furrowing I’ve been doing. Alas.

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Looking forward to Cardi Presents the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Featuring Cardi, With Special Performance by Cardi on Sunday.

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards airs live on CBS Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.