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After all the social media buzz about Grammy nominees and snubs, not to mention all the drama that led up to awards night, the 2019 Grammy Awards turned out to be uneventful and stale. And we’re sorry to say we saw this coming, especially after Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Drake all bailed on performing at the show this year.
But there was one good meme.
Both winners and performances failed to stick on social media, and not even Korean boyband BTS—which made history as the first K-pop band to be nominated for a Grammy and to be invited to present an award—was able to save the show.
However, CBS cameras caught a brief clip of Rhonda Ross on the phone during a performance. The daughter of Motown founder Berry Gordy and legend Diana Ross—and mom of Raif-Henok, the cute little boy who won the internet over when he introduced his grandma before her Grammy birthday performance—sat beside her father, distracted.
The internet lost no time turning the moment into a meme.
— MiniMudds (@Muddsfawaz) February 11, 2019
Even GIF generator Giphy was quick to capture the moment.
— GIPHY (@GIPHY) February 11, 2019
Rhonda captured everyone’s mood about the Grammys, basically.
— Emile Ennis Jr. (@EmileEnnisJr) February 11, 2019
Rhonda Ross fully taking a phone call during the #GRAMMYs is a mood.
— Kevin Surma (@KevinSurma) February 11, 2019
“Rhonda Ross is all of us,” @Fly_Sistah tweeted.
Rhonda Ross is all of us. She was probably telling her BFF yeah, it’s as bad as I expected pic.twitter.com/liCIj1M9xs
— KD (@Fly_Sistah) February 11, 2019
People saw themselves in Rhonda, like @TaylourSaid_: “Tag yourself in the Grammys: I’m Rhonda Ross on the phone in the front row mid show.”
Tag yourself in the Grammys: I’m Rhonda Ross on the phone in the front row mid show.
— Y’all Won. (@TaylourSaid_) February 11, 2019
Even CBS, which broadcasted the awards show, was quick to use it as a meme to talk about Grammys host Alicia Keys’ performance with another Motown pioneer, Smokey Robinson (what everyone around Rhonda was applauding):
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 11, 2019
People wondered who Rhonda could be speaking to and about what, so they posted their own theories. One of them is how it could be a reaction to one of the night’s more remarkable performances: that of her own mom, Diana, to mark her 75th birthday… even if her birthday isn’t until March. At one point onstage, Diana exclaimed, “Happy birthday to me!” Twitter user @bttmshelfbitch supposed Rhonda could be saying, “Hold up, she tryin’ to make this all about her again.”
— The Bottom Shelf Bitch (@BttmShelfBitch) February 11, 2019
Mostly, people speculated she was trolling the Motown tribute that strangely featured Jennifer Lopez in one of the most contemptuous moments of the Grammys. As the Daily Dot noted on Sunday, “February is Black History Month and … genre pioneers Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Robinson are still very much alive.”
— Mr.Hide&GoSeek (@LiveLoveHustle) February 11, 2019
— The Root (@TheRoot) February 11, 2019
“Hello, Grammys? Why is JLo doing a MoTown tribute?“ pic.twitter.com/S6z2t6oetQ
— Ginella Massa (@Ginella_M) February 11, 2019
— Global Grind (@GlobalGrind) February 11, 2019
— BLACK BONNIE (@Taexri) February 11, 2019
— Jerome Trammel (@MrJeromeTrammel) February 11, 2019
— Dragon Fly Jones (@_muziq_) February 11, 2019
— Joshua Dontae (@_that1boyJosh) February 11, 2019
Girl I cant make this up they got J Lo singing Motown songs pic.twitter.com/BpRUt9Kxcp
— Flow (@ITSDJFLOW) February 11, 2019
Rhonda Ross was calling the police on JLo’s Motown tribute pic.twitter.com/OHNe66WwBa
— Brian Sullivan (@nashvillescoop) February 11, 2019
— Whorfery (@Whorfery) February 11, 2019
You know Rhonda Ross was contacting Command of B613 on that Motown performance pic.twitter.com/y9gqokh0ta
— Child of Hazel and Smoke (@wondermann5) February 11, 2019
Check out Rhonda Ross (daughter of Barry Gordy and Diana Ross) on the phone while JLo preformed! I can imagine her convo: "I can't believe they're disrespecting my parents w/this bullsh•t!"😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/OJG8AVkcJ1
— Twin & her Hubs! (@CLE_SHONUFF) February 11, 2019
The meme also captures what Nicki Minaj stans could be doing after their idol’s rival Cardi B won best rap album—the first woman to win the award and ahead of Minaj to boot.
— pia (@shalarey_) February 11, 2019
User @sayyestochurros thought it best captured the reaction to best new artist winner Dua Lipa’s acceptance speech, in which she took a dig at Recording Academy President Neil Portnow for saying female artists had to “step up” at last year’s ceremony. “I guess this year we really stepped up,” she said.
— Bonnie B. (@SayYesToChurros) February 11, 2019
Besides the Motown tribute, some also found the Rhonda meme to be the perfect “unimpressed” reaction to Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour emerging as album of the year winner:
— A Tribe Called Wakanda (@mixedcapital) February 11, 2019
— Tris B (@mstrilliviapope) February 11, 2019
— Jeremiah🥰👑 (@JeremiahCordei1) February 11, 2019
If you were likewise unimpressed by the Grammys, this meme could be you: “Rhonda Ross on the phone sums up this entire show,” tweets user @7eacebewithyou.
rhonda ross on the phone sums up this entire show
— BΔΚ (@7eacebewithyou) February 11, 2019
At best, @kay_suigeneris thinks it’s “the best part of the Grammys.”
Rhonda Ross being on the phone as the best part of the #Grammys
— Freddie Brooks (@kay_suigeneris) February 11, 2019
Meanwhile, some found the Rhonda meme applicable to other life moments, too, like when MTV tweeted, “Calling in help after accidentally liking a pic while 48 weeks deep in the feed.”
— MTV (@MTV) February 11, 2019
rhonda ross is me calling my mom to get me when i’m somewhere i can’t stand to be
— EDEN (@_______eden) February 11, 2019
If a GIF featuring the phone-using daughter of a Motown legend is the most entertaining part of a music awards show, perhaps the Grammys deserved the spinoff meme. You can view the full list of winners here.
Trixie Reyna-Benedicto is a lifestyle editor and writer based in the Philippines. Previously, she helmed Cosmopolitan Philippines’ website, Cosmo.ph, as its founding editor. She later served as editor-in-chief of lifestyle and entertainment portals for Manila-based media company TV5. Her work has appeared in several print and online publications in her country, and she contributes to Speed Magazine, DG Traveler, and Connected Women, among others. Visit her website, trixiereyna.com.