The Grammys, AMAs, Soul Train Awards, among others have proved they know nothing about music. It’s time we stopped caring
The past couple of weeks have been messy for music award ceremonies. The Grammys saw immediate backlash after they announced a hip hop lineup that only featured men in the “Rap Album of the Year” category, and white men, specifically, in the “Producer of the Year” category.
The 2019 American Music Awards (AMAs) continued to prove that they don’t understand what “genre” means either. Apparently, Taylor Swift’s Lover is a rock album. Apparently, Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding is a hip hop album. Both of them are definitely pop.
The 2019 Soul Train Awards gave Lizzo the “Album/Mixtape of the Year” award for her debut, Cuz I Love You, an album that could barely be described as “soul.” Dreamville artist Ari Lennox penned a lengthy essay in tweet-form that singled out these awards for not choosing her, despite making an album deeply rooted in soul, in favour of an album that simply dominated the charts.
Award shows are notorious for getting things wrong. Lest we forget the infamous 2014 Grammys where Macklemore took home the “Best Rap Album” over Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 masterpiece, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. It’s no secret that those who choose the winners are out-of-touch with society.
More artists have figured out that a Grammy nomination really means nothing. Drake’s victory speech for “God’s Plan” winning “Best Rap Song” was a direct attack on how the Grammy winners are selected; a speech that was cut early.
Drake’s right, too. The Grammys are meaningless, as is every other award show. It’s a political game that benefits only those who seem appropriate to win according to its obtuse voters.
The hip hop section of the Grammys continues to suffer the most. Cardi B is the only woman in the “Best Rap” performance category, and it’s for a song that isn’t even her own (Offset’s “Clout”). There isn’t a single woman in the “Best Rap/Sung Performance,” “Best Rap Song,” or “Best Rap Album” categories.
Of course, including women for the sole purpose of including women is wrong, but when you have albums like Megan Thee Stallion’s Fever, Rapsody’s Eve, and Rico Nasty’s Anger Management, all released within the same year, it becomes harder to imagine why they would choose Meek Mill’s Championships or Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation.
Sure, those albums were fine and this isn’t to discredit them, but those albums only appear on the list out of respect for the artists. If J. Cole wasn’t attached to the Dreamville compilation, it would have been largely ignored. If Meek Mill hadn’t been through his messy legal troubles, Championships would have been ignored too.
The Grammys have been getting it wrong for years and they still continue to prove that they’ll choose the safe choice over anyone who rightly deserves it. They have taken a few steps forward in terms of diversity, especially when looking at Lizzo’s lead in the nominations, but she is nothing if not a safe choice as her vanilla pop music has taken the radio by storm. The same could be said with Lil Nas X as well.
Until the Grammys become more daring with their choices, it’s time to stop caring. Burn the Grammys.
Graphic by @sundaeghost