No white men are nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy
Hollywood loves to talk about the importance of diversity, but their awards shows often leave a lot to be desired. For example, at the 2015 and 2016 Academy Awards, all 20 nominees in the lead acting and supporting acting categories were white. Every single one! This led to massive outrage, inspiring the Twitter hashtag "#OscarsSoWhite." Many celebrities even boycotted attending the show.
The Grammys have also faced criticism for their lack of diversity. In 2017, they snubbed Beyoncé for Album Of The Year (Lemonade) and Record Of the Year ("Formation") in favor of Adele, a white female artist. Adele herself even protested the decision. She called Lemonade "monumental" and told the Grammys press room, "What the f--k does does she have to do to win Album of the Year? That's how I feel."
The Grammys also snubbed Kendrick Lamar, widely regarded to be the greatest rapper of his generation. In 2016, Kendrick released his third album, To Pimp A Butterfly, which received massive critical acclaim and captured the national zeitgeist. Instead, the Grammys gave Record of the Year to Taylor Swift, a white female artist.
But that wasn't even the worst snub to K.Dot. In 2014, Kendrick Lamar released his landmark album, "good kid M.A.A.D. city," which topped virtually every "best album of the year" list on the Internet - especially in the rap category. But did the Grammys give him the award for "Best Album?" No. Instead, they gave it to Macklemore, a white male artist. Even Macklemore complained the decision, texting Kendrick to apologize, and say "You got robbed."
However, hold off on that #GrammysSoWhite hashtag! The 2018 awards are shaping up to be quite different. For the first time since 1999, no white men were nominated for Record Of The Year. This year’s nominees are:
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN
JAY-Z - 4:44
Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love
Bruno Mars - 24K Magic
Lorde - Melodrama
In addition, all the songs nominated for Record of the Year came from artists of color. Congratulations, Grammys! You did it! The 60th ceremony was the charm.
It's especially nice to see two rap albums nominated for Album Of The Year. Hip hop has been the best-selling and most influential musical genre for many years, but the Grammys have been ridiculously slow to acknowledge it. Also, they made strange choices. Mostly just gave awards to Eminem. I mean, Eminem's great, but come on - every year he releases an album, he wins? Really? Here's a short list of rappers who have never won Grammys: 2pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Nas, Rakim, Ice Cube, Run-D.M.C., Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, The Wu-Tang Clan, UGK, J. Cole, DMX, Scarface - it's crazy, right?
In June 2017, the Grammys sweeping changes to their voting process allowing online voting, and increasing participation from musicians and young people. Recording Academy SVP, Bill Freimuth, said they wanted to "shift races such as the best rap music from popularity contests to competitions that focus on the music itself." It looks like these changes have led to positive results, across the board. In other words, the Grammys are getting more dope and less wack. It's about time.