Finally, the Grammys Proved Women of All Ages Can Shine

Getty / Kevin Winter Emma McIntyre CBS Photo Archive

2023 was all about the joy of girlhood, so it’s no surprise the biggest musical hits of the year were also for women and by women. Ahead of the 2024 Grammy Awards, women dominated nominations across categories. But the Feb. 4 ceremony celebrated not only women nominees, but also winners, performers, and presenters – at every age. From longtime legends to rising artists, women celebrated each other unabashedly in an industry that tends to emphasize youth and often pits women against each other. For the first time in years, an award show seemed to hit the mark on entertaining audiences across generations, striking the perfect chord between embracing nostalgia and highlighting newer talent.

Women nominees were up for every major category, and ultimately snagged the big wins, too. Phoebe Bridgers took home the most trophies with four wins, making her a first-time Grammy winner alongside Victoria Monét, Miley Cyrus, Karol G, and Lainey Wilson. SZA led the pack with nine nominations, and won two. And of course, Taylor Swift became the first artist in history to win Album of the Year four times.

While the wins were certainly worth celebrating, the performances are what made an impact and warmed nostalgic hearts. In arguably the most-talked-about moment of the night, Tracy Chapman appeared with Luke Combs to perform a duet of “Fast Car,” her 1988 hit that has since seen a cross-generational resurgence (one that she was not fully recognized for until last night). She hadn’t sung on live TV in years, and has rarely toured since 2009. Another standout performance came from Joni Mitchell, who performed at the Grammys for the very first time at 80 years old. The crowd was teary as Mitchell sang her 1968 hit “Both Sides Now,” her presence itself a triumph after she recovered from a 2015 brain aneurysm. Annie Lennox also made an appearance to pay tribute to Sinead O’Connor during the “In Memoriam” segment of the ceremony with an emotional cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” These legends got the visibility they deserved on music’s biggest night – and proved that it’s never too late to get your flowers.

The younger pop stars also delivered memorable performances, and seemed to lean into the empowering theme of the night. Cyrus kicked off the ceremony with a fun rendition of “Flowers,” a self-love anthem that earned her her two wins. Not to mention, she paired the performance with an homage to the late icon Tina Turner. Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo also gave raw, vocal-first performances of their hits “What I Was Made For” and “Vampire,” respectively, both of which reflect on the expectations young women face.

Even as JAY-Z accepted the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, he brought 12-year-old Blue Ivy on stage and centered his wife, Beyoncé, in his speech, criticizing the Recording Academy for repeatedly snubbing her for Album of the Year despite her record-breaking number of Grammys.

Of course, there were other high-profile snubs (notably SZA and Lana Del Rey). Award shows can’t please everyone. But there’s no doubt women of all ages reigned at last night’s Grammys, indulging Gen Z, millennial, and Gen X fans alike and making us all feel seen. Witnessing legends and newcomers celebrating each other and themselves felt like a real step forward for all women.

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