Adele and Beyoncé: The 21st Century faces of Feminism?

Sunday the 12th of February saw a night of glitz and glam as millions of people tuned in to
watch the 59th Grammy Awards, held at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. The Grammy Awards
are an annual celebration of music and those who create it. As the first music awards show of the
year, the Grammys did not shy away from the current trend of powerful and often political
acceptance speeches that have been seen in various other award shows as of late.  (Hello, Meryl

By now, almost everyone and their granny has seen or heard one of the most controversial
and popular speeches of the night, a seemingly spontaneous one made by Adele as she stood on
stage upon being announced as the winner of the Album of the Year award. Depending on who you
speak to, or more likely whose Twitter feed you stumble upon, reactions have been drastically
mixed. However, this article, and this writer, lean more towards the positive reception of the speech,
viewing it as a celebration of female empowerment and mutual support between two of the most
successful women in today’s music industry.

While many other acceptance speeches directly dealt with current political or social problems faced
by those living in America, Adele’s supposed unrehearsed speech took on a far more universal
theme – one of mutual female empowerment and respect. Rather than simply accepting the award
and taking it for the personal and feminist achievement that it was, Adele used her few allotted
moments of gratitude for something far greater than herself. Where many others would have taken
the well deserved award, said their few thank yous and ran, Adele used her time on stage as a
platform to celebrate the work of another woman.
Through her speech, which is widely available to watch online if you have been living under
a rock for the last week, Adele manages to break down multiple social and political walls. She
demonstrated the positive power that women congratulating and encouraging other women can
have, not only in creative industries but in every aspect of life. Those watching, regardless of
opinion on the overall speech, could not escape the reminder that this type of feminism is essential
in the continuous fight for female empowerment. While Adele spoke, Beyoncé graciously and
emotionally accepted the words of admiration directed towards her, mouthing “I love you” back to
Adele while placing her hand on her heart. In doing so, both women physically displayed the
importance of intersectional feminism, a type of feminism that has long been advocated and sought
after by women of colour; especially in America.
Adele’s speech echoed the rhetoric of the various Women’s Marches that have taken place
world wide in response to the recently elected 45th President of the United States. It is exactly this
type of female solidarity that is necessary following the inauguration of Trump. It is outspoken
people like Adele, unafraid to speak up when they witness something that they feel is unfair, that are
needed in an era when far too much time and attention is afforded to the misogynistic, racist,
homophobic, and xenophobic views that have become synonymous the Trump (and Brexit for that
matter) administration.
Regardless of who you think was more deserving of the award, be it Adele, Beyoncé, or
perhaps someone else. Both of these women have facilitated the continuation of a much needed
conversation and movement. One of women supporting women, especially on a professional level.
Yes we may all go out and march for our rights to gender equality, or to ensure specific medical
rights. But at the end of the day, any feminist movement is useless without mutual female support
and love for one another. No woman alone can overcome the many societal challenges we still face,
but together, as we have proved throughout history, we can change the world (Queen Bey will also
remind us that we run it.) And who knows, perhaps we are now finally one step closer to an Adele/
Beyoncé collaboration.