How Award Shows Have Complicated My Relationship with the Pandemic


Mykaylah Moran

For years, different art forms have brought entertainment into our lives through television screens, music, and even dance, with artists claiming recognition for their work annually at award shows. These ceremonies have always been something that celebrities and fans look forward to all year, but in 2020, all of the crowded red carpets and acceptance speeches were at risk of being taken away entirely. Luckily, the media has found safe ways to make them work and awards shows are slowly making their way back into our lives, this time with a new significance for everyone. 

2020 proved to be the year of doing everything behind a computer screen. Being in lockdown in your house for weeks on end meant that your sources of entertainment were few and far between. So when I heard that awards shows were going to be as scheduled like the Video Music Awards in August, I was ecstatic. After months of everything being canceled or rescheduled due to the pandemic, there was a sense of normalcy. The Grammys and the Oscars that will be happening within the next few months suddenly have new importance in my life that they never had before. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has become extremely politicized this year, with many people believing the disease holds no risk at all. While cases are surging across the country and people are dying from it every day, there are still individuals who are unwilling to follow recommendations and orders regarding COVID-19. However, after observing these people over recent months, I found that many of them were more willing to follow the CDC guidelines once their favorite celebrity spoke out about it. At the VMAs, big-name celebrities such as Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga performed with masks on. This award show, and future pandemic-friendly ceremonies to come, are a phenomenal platform to spread the message of wearing a mask and keeping everyone safe. I have gained immense gratitude for the stars that have used their voice during these awards shows to speak out about the safety precautions and protocols of COVID-19.

Live concerts and performances were some of the first events to be shut down when the pandemic hit. While being the best option in terms of public safety, the decision to cancel these shows had a multitude of downsides, one being a lack of recognition for artists and their work. Performers, musicians, and actors no longer had an opportunity to showcase their talent and gain publicity as they did previously. Overall, the virus increased the need for entertainment and art appreciation, making award shows gain more importance and value than ever before. Being able to produce these award ceremonies during this time of need has aided in paying tribute to artists who were, at one point, not able to receive the love and support they truly deserved. 

This past year, I have learned the importance of recognizing the artists that I love that I never would have realized without changes the pandemic threw at me. It is easy to look at the overwhelming negatives COVID-19 has brought from 2020 into 2021, but it is also important to look at what positives it has given the world as well, like truly appreciating things that we used to take for granted before.