The Grammys are nothing more than a trick for POC audiences to tune in every year, in hopes that maybe-just maybe- our favorite black and brown artists will receive their acclaides. And every year, we’re disappointed.
The Grammys have a pattern of making decisions that don’t really add up:
Are winners chosen by numbers or cultural significance?
Are these decisions based on how well, financially, an album does to win AOTY or does there need to be a heavy pop cultural influence for an artist to be rightfully awarded?
In 2015 (AOTY went to Beck’s “Morning Phase”) , Beyoncé‘s self titled album was number one on the Billboard 200 for three weeks, after dropping with not a single stitch of promo, sold MILLIONS of copies, and was accompanied with a music video playlist to match every song. In 2016 (AOTY went to Adele for “25”), Lemonade beat even bigger numbers and is still culturally significant today. That sounds both culturally impactful and financially successful, right? There seems to be motivation to keep Black artists from getting the recognition they deserve, and in 2018, these motivations are becoming more clear.
Is it merit based or a popularity contest?
Alessia Cara won a Grammy for best new artist this year, over Sza, Khalid, and Lil Uzi Vert.
Not knocking Ol’ girl and I know she had a hit with “Scars to your Beautiful” and had a thing hit with Logic, but is her current success comparable to her peers of the same category? Will she be remembered after that night?
Is it political?
Since the Grammy’s had been sponsored by Apple Music, there is some speculation that they had some hands in the decisions to not award Jay-Z, who as everyone knows, created Tidal, in order to let Hov know who the real big boss of streaming is. A stretch, I know, but hey it’s possible.
Note: notice how Jay-Z’s face was used to promote the Grammys the most, and went home with nothing but a sleepy Blue Ivy in his arms.
Or is it simply whoever is the most digestible?
Adele, and this year’s winner of Album of the Year, Bruno Mars, make black-ish music, but are either not fully or at all associated with Blackness, and because of this, their music is considered more mainstream. Many Black artists who are snubbed at these events are usually artists who have openly said they make music for everyone, but specifically for their own communities. One cannot deny the snubbing is intentional. This is not to discredit Adele or Bruno Mars, or the work of any other non-black Grammy winner, but to question the motives behind these mainstream award shows. Now obviously, there were Grammy moments where black and brown artists received their rightful awards-but a “sometimes” just simply doesn't cut it. It is important for viewers and artists to shift away from mainstream award ceremonies, since it is so hard to pinpoint what the standard of good and influential music is, and this gets even more confusing with the messy politics that is show biz.
Palmira Muniz is a CSUITEMUSIC.com Blogger.
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