Breaking Barriers at the 2023 Grammys


(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Kim Petras accepts the Grammy for best pop duo/group performance for “Unholy,” her collaboration with Sam Smith, at Sunday’s 2023 Grammy Awards.

Lisette Corona, Student Writer

Barriers were broken on Sunday night at the 2023 Grammys when Kim Petras won her first Grammy award for the category of best pop duo/group performance. This was a historic night for Kim Petras as she was the first transgender woman to win this award in the category for her duet with Sam Smith of their smash hit “Unholy.” Sam Smith graciously let Kim Petras accept the award and hijack the entire acceptance speech time slot to honor her as the first transgender woman to win a Grammy.

“I’m the first transgender woman to win the award, “she said proudly during her acceptance speech. “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.”

Kim Petras also went on during her acceptance speech to give thanks to her mother who she said, “believed me that I was a girl, and I wouldn’t be here without her and her support.”

Kim Petras is a singer-songwriter from Germany who had a huge year in 2022 from her featured song with Sam Smith “Unholy.” Their hit track topped the charts in 2022 on the Billboard Hot 100 which made Kim Petras the first transgender woman as an artist to reach number one in the United States. They also made LGBTQ history when their song hit number one on the charts as they were the first ever ones as transgender and a non-binary solo artist to do so.

Kim Petras and Sam Smith performed their iconic hit on the Grammy stage Sunday night. Before their performance, Madonna was the one who introduced them to say, “Are you ready for a little controversy?” Here’s what I’ve learned after four decades in music. If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative or dangerous, you are definitely onto something.”

During their performance, singer Sam Smith towards the end wore a devil horns hat and singer Kim Petras sang her part of the song inside a cage.

This was a monumental night for both singers but especially Kim Petras who showed that being your true authentic self can break down barriers in the industry.