Kim Petras Makes History As First Trans Woman to Win a Grammy for Best Pop Duo — And Her Speech Is Incredibly Powerful
LGBTQ history was made at the 2023 Grammy Awards. On Sunday, Kim Petras and Sam Smith accepted the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Collaboration for their song “Unholy,” making Petras the first-ever transgender woman to win a Grammy in the category.
The artists walked onstage together, but Smith stood behind Petras and gave her the mic.”Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said.
“I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight,” she said, before referencing the late Grammy-nominated producer Sophie, who died in 2020.
“Sophie especially, my friend who passed away two years ago, told me this would happen and always believed in me,” she said. “Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”
Petras also thanked Madonna for “fighting for LGBTQ rights” before turning the speech to her mother, who she says supported her throughout her entire journey.
“I grew up next to a highway in Germany,” she said. “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.”
She ended the speech by turning back to Smith. “This is a huge moment for me, Sam. Thank you. You’re a true angel and hero in my life. And I love you and everyone who made the song too. I love you guys so much. Sorry, I didn’t write down the names!”
Petras and Smith’s “Unholy” was nominated in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category, which included Camila Cabello and Ed Sheeran’s “Bam Bam,” Coldplay and BTS’ “My Universe,” Post Malone and Doja Cat’s “I Like You (A Happier Song).”
If they call you troublesome, provocative, dangerous, you are definitely on to something,” Madonna said while introducing the pair.
Petras and Smith then took the stage in sexier versions of their all-red red carpet outfits. Clad in a latex pants/heels combo, Smith energetically jumped into their intro surrounded by a swaying demonic choir, before Petras (in a cage) joined in and helped finish out the TikTok hit.
The win for “Unholy” marks Smith’s fifth Grammy after winning Record and Song of the Year for “Stay With Me” in 2015. That year, In the Lonely Hour won Best Pop Vocal Album and they were also named Best New Artist.
Petras told the press backstage that the song was inspired by her childhood experience with religion and said she was excited to show kids that you can be rewarded for your talent instead of just your sexuality.
“It’s a take on not being able to choose religion and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live. As a trans person, I’m not wanted in religion. It was kind of like ‘hell-keeper Kim,'” she said. “I got a Grammy for making music with my friend, and that’s the best feeling in the world. I think that people need to judge less, and I hope that there’s a future where gender and identity and all these labels don’t don’t matter that much.”
Contributors: Ethan Millman
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