Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: The 2020 Grammy nominations are frustrating many BIPOC artists

An illustration shows a Grammy award.
An illustration shows a Grammy award.

As the world of entertainment progresses through time, award shows and ceremonies have been created to give stars their flowers. From the Oscars to the Grammys, these awards show entertainers just how much they are appreciated. But some artists think the Grammys has been snubbing Black entertainers and their contributions to the music industry. 

The Grammys is a series of awards presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, according to Britannica.These awards recognize the achievements of artists in the music industry from more than 25 fields such as rap, pop, R&B, country, gospel and jazz. These awards are popular, and if you receive one you are seen as an elite artist.

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards are Jan. 31and although the Grammys covers a wide range of music genres, some entertainers feel as though they are not being recognized. 

Artists such as The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Drake and Halsey have recently spoken up in relation to some Grammy snubs.

The Weeknd tweeted, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”

The Weeknd is a very popular artist who has been soaring through the charts for years and was surprised he was not nominated in any of the Grammy categories. In March, each song from The Weeknd’s album “After Hours” was on the Billboard’s Hot 100. This album opened with 444,000 album units sold, and each song charted in the Hot 100 in 2020 alone. In 2020, The Weeknd won video of the year and best R&B video at the VMA’s for “Blinding Lights,” and he also won favorite R&B/soul album for “After Hours” at the AMA’s along with so many other awards and nominations

In 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2013, The Weeknd won several Grammy awards, but this year was different for him.

Nicki Minaj, another popular artist who recently won Favorite Female Rap artist at the 2020 American Music Awards, was also missing from the nominees for the Grammys. 

Minaj took to Twitter as well to express how this isn’t the first time the Grammys snubbed her contribution to the rap game.

“Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver,” Minaj said. 

Minaj’s Latin song “Tusa” with Karol G lasted 12 weeks on the Billboard top charts and peaked at number one for almost 25 weeks in 2019. This year, the collaboration won favorite song at the AMA’s. 

Instead of including artists who have been in the game for a while now and made huge impacts on charts, this year the Grammys has nominated the same artists in various categories. Names such as Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are dispersed throughout the nominees. You also see names of groups who are newer and aren’t on the charts like others. 

According to E News, newer artists such as DaBaby didn’t qualify for best new artist due to him having mixtapes in the past.

Biracial artist Halsey said on Instagram, “The Grammys are an elusive process. It can often be about behind the scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and 'bribes' that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as 'not-bribes.'”

The actions of the Grammys has led many people to ask if there is a diversity issue within the award ceremony. The Daily Beast, a newsletter that gathers news and opinions from around the world, called the Grammys ‘racist as hell.’ Daily Beast pointed out Beyonce’s self-titled album and how it lost to Beck’s “Morning Phase,” then again when “Lemonade” lost to Adele’s “25.” When Beyonce lost to Adele, even Adele herself was shocked and used her time to give praise to Beyonce.

“My idol is Queen B, and I adore you,” Adele said. “I was rooting for her; I voted for her."

An article from the Daily Beast stated Beyonce had the more critically approved album but somehow still managed to lose. Beyonce is currently leading the Grammys with nine nominations. She is now the most nominated female artist in Grammy history. Beyonce has 79 Grammy nominations alongside her 24 wins. 

If Beyonce manages to win four awards from her nine nominations, it will make her the female artist with the most wins of all time. If she wins eight, she will become the musician with the most Grammy wins of all time, according to an article from New Musical Express.

The Beast continues to show how some Black artists aren’t a part of the album of the year nomination process. Some legendary albums they mentioned that were never nominated include Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” and Prince’s “1999”. Neither of these albums were considered for nomination.

Surprisingly, in the entire history of the Grammys, only 10 black artists have won Album of the Year, according to the Daily Beast.

In 2018, Jay-Z received eight nominations at the Grammys. He was easily the most recognized artist that year for his album “4:44.” Jay-Z experienced what Goldderby calls “one of the worst shutouts of all time.” He received eight losses, meaning he didn’t win anything he was nominated for. In the previous year, Kanye West and Rihanna left the Grammys without any awards as well.

If the Grammys is truly corrupt and snubbing Black entertainers, what needs to change?

Drake took to his social media to make light of the Grammys situation

"I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what was once the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artistes that exist now, and the ones to come after.”

The Grammys has a lot of cleaning up that needs to be done. Snubbing various Black artists in exchange for their white counterparts has been going on for many years. 

Something needs to change, because the main movers and shakers of the industry are not getting what they deserve: recognition. 

Although the Grammys has a wide range of categories, the majority listed do not fit the genres most popular Black artists are put in. Black musicians are usually categorized under R&B, rap and gospel. 

If the awards expands the placement of Black artists and what their music is categorized as, there could be more representation. Similar to the Oscars, the Grammys could also designate newer categories to fit diversity standards, giving Black artists the chance to win more awards for their contributions. Right now The Recording Academy decides who is nominated and wins Grammys. 

If voting is open to a public audience, more artists could have a chance to be nominated and eventually win an award.

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