In 1974, Stevie Wonder was the first person of colour to win the Album Of The Year award at the Grammys. Since then, other black artists have gone on to follow suit such as Outkast, Lauryn Hill, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles etc.
While this is good, we can’t ignore the glaring fact that no black artist has won this category since 2003, despite several nominations. (and also that Beyoncé lost three times to Taylor Swift, Beck and Adele but that’s a fight for another day) Given this, you an imagine how exciting it is that only one white artist, Lorde was nominated this year, and no white man was nominated in this category!
This year, Jay Z, Childish Gambino, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars were all nominated for this category which makes for an actually inclusive list of artists (well, there’s no black woman in sight).
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, whose members vote on the Grammy awards, does not release a breakdown of their voting body based on race, gender or age, so we don’t know how these wins are generated. However, the academy has long insisted that the Grammys voting body is diverse and reflective of the music industry’s artists. We’ll believe it when we see it, and we haven’t seen it since 2003!
This injustice was especially highlighted at this year’s Grammy’s when Adele’s 25 won this category instead of Beyoncé’s Lemonade. We love Adele and 25 was amazing, but it was no Lemonade. Even though Beyoncé has no shortage of trophies, to rid her of the industry’s biggest honour – Album Of The Year, is unbecoming of the masterpiece that Lemonade was and still is.
This is how the Grammys has eluded so many other black artists who have done just as much work, if not more, as the past
white winners have, to change the face of music and our culture.
We hope to see a black win in this category this year, and congratulations to all our faves who got nominations (especially SZA and Cardi B), we hope you all win!