Tuesday, August 3

The Diverse List of Grammy Award Winners Isn’t Wonderful: They’re Fantastic Artists | 2021 Grammy Awards

TThe Grammys always attract a certain degree of controversy. This year, singer Teyana Taylor protested that “all I see is cock” in the male nominations for best R&B album, and a slightly quirky statement from Justin Bieber, asking to be considered an R&B artist rather than a singer from pop. The Weeknd grabbed more headlines, understandably surprised that his double-platinum album After Hours and accompanying single Blinding lights – a song so ubiquitous that it recently celebrated an entire year in America’s Top 10 – did not receive a single nomination: he later announced that he would stop allowing his label to present his music in the future. The latter’s complaint revolved around the lack of transparency in the voting process: the presence of nominating committees that retain executive power over who makes the preselections and who has the ability to add artists who have not received nominations in many from the Grammys categories.

The transparency argument is not going away: If your voting process involves a dark and seemingly unanswerable cabal that wields control over nominations, you should probably expect people to look at you with suspicion, but, leaving aside the absence of the Weeknd, the real winners of the major categories of the Grammy Awards did not admit to arguing.

ELLA and co-writer Tiara Thomas accept song of the year award for I Can't Breathe.
ELLA and co-writer Tiara Thomas accept song of the year award for I Can’t Breathe. Photograph: Kevin Winter / The Recording Academy / AFP / Getty Images

There was nothing quite like the controversy at the Brit 2020 Awards for the lack of female representation, when so few women were nominated that even the host of the event, Jack Whitehall, accused the BIS of “recycling all kinds of excuses” on the subject. . Quite the opposite: Taylor Swift became the first female artist in history to win Album of the Year three times – vindication for the left shift away from cheeky pop on her Folklore album – while Megan Thee Stallion finished 17 years of male dominance in the best rap song category, and Beyoncé moved into the second position on the list of most awarded artists of all time (behind Hungarian-British director Georg Solti).

Meanwhile, accusations of racism at last year’s Grammys, when best rap album winner Tyler, the Creator, suggested that black artists were pigeonholed and wondering aloud “why can’t we be in the pop? ” seemed to have come home. Megan Thee Stallion won Best New Artist; Brittany Howard Best Rock Song For Stay high; Yours I can’t breathe He took home the song of the year, as it deserved: if you want a powerful musical reflection of the racial tumult of the past 12 months, I can’t breathe it.

There were no big surprises, no outbreaks of the traditional Grammy tradition of WTF moments. Billie Eilish said that Megan Thee Stallion’s remix of Savage should have won the record for the year instead of hers. All I wanted and demanded the crowd to applaud the rapper, but in truth, Everything I Wanted is a great record: His win is not a throwback to the deeply suspect years when Simply Red or Leo Sayer danced to the best R&B song.

If you could see where the impetus to make changes had come from, more importantly, none of the awards seemed like a box-ticking exercise designed to defuse criticism – they felt deserved. You can only hope the British take note.


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