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WHY WON’T THE GRAMMY’S ACKNOWLEDGE BLACK SUCCESS?

Ahnayah Hughes, Student Journalist

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“What the f*ck does ([Beyonce]have to do to win album of the year?”

Adele asked this question herself two months ago, backstage at the Grammy’s after her third studio album, 25, beat out Beyonce’s, Lemonade, for the coveted Album of the Year (AOTY) award. Like the rest of the world, she was shocked that Beyonce, arguably the best artist of our time, lost the title for a third time.

Though this was back in February, this decision still angers many. Lemonade, a lyrical masterpiece centered on black women and black culture, had the world captivated with its HBO release in April of 2016. Accompanied with a visual album featuring a range of genres from the rock piece “Freedom,” to the country hit “Daddy Lesson’s,” and the love ballad that is “Sandcastles.” Not only did she take extreme risks venturing into different styles, the cultural significance of the album alone should have been enough to make her the winner of AOTY.

It’s not that Adele’s album was bad; it was amazing. Her beautiful ballads and record sales show that. But was it better than Lemonade? No, not even close, and Adele knew that. It had nowhere near the power and strength Lemonade did. It didn’t touch the hearts of black women the way Lemonade did. Beyonce’s album was a reminder to black people, to black women, that they are amazing, that they are important, that they matter. She gave them a voice, a fight song, a time to celebrate.

This isn’t the first time black people have been snubbed for AOTY. Twitter user @adam_lewis pointed out that in the past four years, significant albums by black people, lost to white artists, despite their popularity and achievements.

2013 – mumford over frank

2014 – daft punk over kendrick

2015 – beck over beyonce

2016 – taylor over kendrick

2017 – adele over beyonce

🤔🤔🤔

— very festive tweets (@adam_lewis) February 13, 2017

The late greats Prince and Michael Jackson never won the award, despite being two of the greatest artists of all time. In the Grammy’s entire 57 years, only 10 black artists have won AOTY. Of those 10, only three black women have won the award: Natalie Cole in 1992, Whitney Houston in 1994 and Lauryn Hill in 1999. That means that not a single black woman has received the award in the 21st century. Do you see the problem?

If Prince, Michael Jackson, and Beyonce have never been granted the most honorable achievement in the music industry, then what does that mean for the other black artists to come? Will they ever be recognized for their part in not only black culture, but American pop-culture? Will they ever be acknowledged for their art, their success, their impact?

Maybe they will. Maybe one day they’ll get the credit they so rightfully deserve.

Or maybe Taylor Swift will be applauded for another diss record aimed at an ex-boyfriend and be hailed the greatest lyricist and performer of the generation.
Only time will tell.

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The student news site of the San Diego School of Creative & Performing Arts
WHY WON’T THE GRAMMY’S ACKNOWLEDGE BLACK SUCCESS?