Diversity reigned at the 61st Grammy Awards, with women and rap making history on music’s biggest night.

While a year ago women were virtually ignored in the major categories, this time around they were well represented, with five of the eight album of the year nominees being female.

That prize, the biggest of the night, was won by country music star Kacey Musgraves for Golden Hour.

61st Annual Grammy Awards – Show
Kacey Musgraves won the Grammy for album of the year (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Speaking on stage, shock winner Musgraves said: “I don’t even know what to say. I am very thankful. Winning doesn’t make my album any better than anyone else in that category.”

Cardi B became the first female solo artist to win best rap album while Dua Lipa was named best new artist.

Lady Gaga won three prizes, including two for A Star Is Born smash-hit Shallow.

Elsewhere, Childish Gambino’s This Is America became the first rap track to win songwriters’ prize song of the year, adding to wins for video of the year and record of the year.

61st Annual Grammy Awards – Show
Lady Gaga won three Grammys, with two coming from her work on A Star Is Born (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Gambino, the music alter ego of actor Donald Glover, was not present at the awards show to collect the prize but was the night’s big winner with four accolades.

This Is America went viral when it was released in May last year, thanks largely to its politically charged music video which explores racism and police violence.

The more diverse tone for the Grammys was set early on, when host for the night Alicia Keys brought Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith and former US first lady Michelle Obama on to the Staples Centre stage in Los Angeles.

They described what music meant to them, with Mrs Obama saying it had “always helped me tell my story”.

61st Annual Grammy Awards – Show
Dua Lipa accepts the award for best new artist at the 61st annual Grammy Awards (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Writing on Twitter, she said: “A big part of friendship is showing up for your girls — that’s why I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs.”

While accepting her best new artist prize, British star Lipa publicly rebuked Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who in 2018 said women needed to “step up” to make the nominees more gender equal.

Lipa, who was nominated alongside female artists Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., Margo Price, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith, used her acceptance speech to take a dig at Portnow.

After praising her fellow nominees, the 23-year-old said: “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up.”