Alessia Cara defends Grammy win — but she didn't need to

Heather Gardner
Video Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
(Photo: Getty Images)

Alessia Cara was awarded Best New Artist at Sunday night’s Grammys Awards, one of the top prizes of the night. But her win came with controversy.

Many thought the 21-year-old singer was undeserving of the award — which she won over SZA, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, and Julia Michaels — because though she gained popularity in 2017, her breakout song “Here” was released in 2015.

Cara, though, defended her win in an empowering Instagram message to her critics. “I didn’t log onto and submit myself,” she wrote. “I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artists that deserve the acknowledgement. But I was nominated and won and I an not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for.”

The singer, determined to not let anyone squash her win, also addressed her haters. “I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck.”

The powerful message resonated with fans, and even with Cara’s peers, many of whom reached out to support the singer after she posted her rant on social media. Sam Smith tweeted, “Congratulations on the Grammy beautiful.” Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui also tweeted, “Amen! Proud of my Lil nena @alessiacara though, she was incredibly deserving.”

Still, most fans thought Cara shouldn’t have to defend herself. The singer was the only woman to be awarded in the top categories at the 2018 Grammys, and she was the only one to be personally attacked for her win. Though both Bruno Mars’s and Ed Sheeran’s wins were controversial, the anger was directed at the Recording Academy, not at the artists themselves — and neither Mars nor Sheeran felt the need to address the backlash.

Fans thought Cara’s singled-out attacks were unfair.

Cara, however, felt the need to address the issue, which is why she has become so popular over the last few years. She is open and honest, and it shows in her music: She’s always been willing to write about issues that matter to her fans, even when addressing a backlash she didn’t deserve.