Mars Grammy wins stir up controversy

They say rap has finally passed rock in popularity among modern music fans. But someone forgot to tell Bruno Mars. The pop star cleaned up at the Grammy Awards, taking home all six awards for which he was nominated, including best song, best record, and album of the year. Not a bad haul in the year rap was supposed to, finally, reign supreme.

That’s not to say rap had a rough night. Superstar rapper Kendrick Lamar took home five awards, leaving rapper and mogul, Jay-Z to go home empty. But, regardless of rap’s big showing and a surprise cameo from Hillary Clinton, the Grammy’s belonged to Mars.

The singer spent some time during one acceptance speech marveling at how far he’d come, sharing with the audience memories of performing old school R&B hits for tourists, watching them dancing together and just having fun. Happiness was a theme in his conversation, and at one point Mars summed up his motivation for performing: “All I ever wanted to do with this album was write songs with nothing but joy…”

And, while joy was certainly a prominent emotion on the stage and among Mars’ legions of fans, there were more than a few professional and amateur music critics who felt Lamar got robbed. They made their opinions known on social media during and immediately following the awards broadcast.

Countless rap fans felt Lamar got slighted, that he had the better album and should have won at least that award, if not others Mars took home. Some are blaming too-high expectations for the angry response to Mars’ wins. For days leading up to the Grammys, many pop culture and music reporters teased the show as rap’s coming out party. Lamar was expected to elevate the craft above the height achieved even by superstars like Eminem and Dr. Dre. He would win, and win and win and win.

That idea was bolstered by Lamar’s hard-hitting performance to open the show. Fans were on the edge of their seats, filled with expectation. Then Lamar started winning: once, twice … five times. But he was shut out of the biggest awards of the night. Fans saw trophies in the biggest categories go to the guy many are calling the second coming of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. That throwback tip of the hat to pop-rock was not lost on Lamar’s fans.

Lamar did clean up in the rap category, and his opening performance was a big hit with viewers in the room and at home. But what many thought would be his night turned out to belong, once again, to Bruno Mars.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.


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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.