The Death of the Grammys


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Jacob Glass (He/Him), Staff Writer

We gather here today to remember the life of the Grammy Awards, who after years of controversial decisions, ultimately put the final nail in the coffin at the 2023 award show. It will definitely not be losing the nickname “Scammys” anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I was unable to correctly predict any of the major categories at last Sunday’s Grammys Awards in my prediction article. One thing I did accurately predict, was the mountains of hate from angry fans on Twitter. I am one of those fans.

There were quite a few upsets at the awards show this year. Some were utterly shocking while some were unfortunately expected. I’m going to largely skip over Bonnie Raitt’s win of the song of the year award. It was definitely a surprise, but she’s won many Grammys before and I can see how she was a favorite for older academy voters.

The most significant issue of the night was how Beyoncé was snubbed for the biggest award: album of the year. This is an award she has been snubbed of four times, all of which were to white artists. Let’s be clear about this—this is racism. In the entire history of the Grammys, only 11 Black people have won album of the year, of those, only three Black women have won, the last being Lauryn Hill in 1999. That was over two decades ago.

This is not the first time the Grammys have been accused of racial bias. Many artists have brought up the lack of Black winners and the lack of transparency from the Recording Academy as major issues.

It’s especially difficult this year because Beyoncé’s album Renaissance was an album that celebrated and embraced Black and queer culture. Instead of being given the spotlight, the award was given to Harry Styles, a white man. Renaissance was something new for the mainstream, and Harry’s House, the album that won, was something we had heard before. Not to mention, Renaissance was absolutely the best album nominated, there’s no question in my mind.

This anger isn’t and shouldn’t be directed toward Styles. His album was good, and while his choice of words in his speech definitely struck a nerve (he said, “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.”), the fault lies with the Academy itself. There must be a movement to push the Grammys to reform, similar to the movement in 2020 and 2021 to get the Golden Globe Awards to change after it was found that there were zero Black voters in their voting body. This led to the Golden Globes increasing the size of their voting body and bringing in more diverse voters.

It may seem strange to be getting so angry in regards to Beyoncé’s snub since, the same night, she became the most awarded person in Grammy’s history with 32 trophies. This is a big feat and one that absolutely should be celebrated.

The issue is that out of those 32 awards, only one was in one of the major categories. That was when she won song of the year for Single Ladies in 2010. The rest of her awards have come from smaller categories, most of which were genre categories. The majority of her Grammys have come from the R&B category, which is dominated by Black artists. This is very limiting for Black musicians since they are largely ignored in the main awards and other genre categories.

So, is this the end of the Grammys? Who knows! Like many mediocre PWIs (predominantly white institutions), it will likely live on. Hopefully, the power of the enraged Beyhive will be enough to finally get the Recording Academy to change. Like Lizzo’s record-of-the-year award-winning song, it’s About Damn Time.