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The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Grammy Awards brought feats and disappointments


The 65th Annual Grammy Awards were held on Feb. 5. Artists such as Beyoncé and Viola Davis achieved career milestones, but the diversity in the industry is still experiencing a lack of celebration.

One decision Twitter users cannot move on from is the Album of the Year being awarded to former One Direction member Harry Styles for his album “Harry’s House.” This marks the third album of his career and his first win in this category.

Facing several talented powerhouses, including Beyoncé for “Renaissance” and Bad Bunny for “Un Verano Sin Ti,” Styles was one of two white men nominated for Album of the Year. He ended his speech in a controversial fashion.

“I’ve been so inspired by every artist in this category with me,” the British singer said. “This is really, really kind. I’m so grateful. This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.”

Angry viewers immediately took to social media to voice their complaints with his wording, as well as the lack of respect shown for Beyoncé’s album.

It is hard to ignore that this is the fourth time Beyoncé was nominated for Album of the Year and lost. Each time she has lost to a white artist, whose album typically lacks cultural importance. Only three Black women have won Album of the Year in the Grammy’s 65-year history, and most people are tired of the lack of recognition given to Black women.

In 2017, Adele’s “25” beat Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” Even Adele expressed major disappointment in this decision.

“I can’t possibly accept this award. And I’m very humbled, and I’m very grateful and gracious, but my artist of my life is Beyoncé,” said a tearful Adele.

Another Twitter user expressed their frustration on behalf of Bad Bunny, saying that his win would have been historic for the genre and Puerto Rican community.

Amidst all of the disappointment, there are highlights of the night that deserve attention.

Beyoncé received her 32nd Grammy Award this year, making her the most awarded artist in Grammy history. The category that helped her achieve this milestone was Best Dance/Electronic Album.

Actor Viola Davis, known for projects such as “The Woman King” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” took home a Grammy in the Best Audiobook, Narration and Storytelling Recording category for her memoir “Finding Me.”

This win was particularly special, as it secured her EGOT. EGOTs are titles given to artists who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

“I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola – to honor her life, her joy, her trauma, her everything,” Davis said when accepting the award. “And it has been such a journey. I just EGOT!”

She is the third Black woman to claim this status and the 18th person to receive this honor. This feat, however, is not necessarily a sign of hope.

Twitter user Ryan Ken pointed out that “historic first” such as “first Black winner” really translates to, “traditionally we don’t award Black people.”

Perhaps the most frustrating fact of all is the large demographic who selects the winning artists: old, mostly white, men. In fact, a voter described by Variety as a “music business veteran in his 70s” complained that Beyoncé receives too much recognition.

“With Beyoncé, the fact that every time she does something new, it’s a big event and everyone’s supposed to quake in their shoes – it’s a little too portentous,” the voter said.

The Recording Academy needs to shake up its demographic, as there seem to be members who are against proper recognition to Black women. A legendary album is a legendary album, and regardless of the awards she has been given in the past, it is time to give credit where credit is due.

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