Yesterday I caught some flak for calling Adele’s 25 “boring-ass” compared to Beyonce’s genre-blending visual concept album Lemonade… I stand by it. Not because Adele is not an amazing singer — she is. Not because her album wasn’t good — it was. But because the Grammys purport to celebrate movers and shakers, and musical work that is pushing the culture forward with creativity and innovation. And in giving Adele Album of the Year they didn’t do that. Rolling Stone has even theorized this could be punishment for Beyonce streaming Lemonade in its early weeks instead of releasing it the traditional way, an approach that benefits individual artists but not record labels. (Beyonce has been recently vocal about taking control of both the business and artistic side of her career.)

In a sense this is the Grammys version of “Oscars So White”; while black musicians are well represented as nominees, they are far less represented as winners outside of the “black” music categories (hip hop, R&B, urban, etc.) And even in “black” categories artists can be upset by white nominees. Consider Macklemore’s very average effort The Heist losing to Kendrick Lamar’s instant classic Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. Eminem, likewise, has had a string of Grammy wins for Best Rap Album — in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2010, 2011 and 2015, almost every year he has released an album. It’s almost as though… he’s being rewarded for being a white guy who makes rap music. And again, this is not to say that he is not talented… it is to say that his albums were not strong enough to beat out competitors like Missy Elliott, The Roots, Jay-Z, Common and Childish Gambino.

The continual snub of black artists at the Grammys is even more egregious when you consider that American music — from country to rock, blues to jazz, hip hop to pop — traces its roots to African American culture.

Some black artists have taken to shunning the ceremony altogether. Frank Ocean boycotted the Grammys this year calling the show “dated” and “out of touch with the younger generation of black artists.” He explained his decision in a lengthy all-caps Tumblr post;

“IN REALITY, I ACTUALLY WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN HONORING PRINCE ON THE SHOW BUT THEN I FIGURED MY BEST TRIBUTE TO THAT MAN’S LEGACY WOULD BE TO CONTINUE TO BE MYSELF OUT HERE AND TO BE SUCCESSFUL. WINNING A TV AWARD DOESN’T CHRISTEN ME SUCCESSFUL. IT TOOK ME SOME TIME TO LEARN THAT. I BOUGHT ALL MY MASTERS BACK LAST YEAR IN THE PRIME OF MY CAREER, THAT’S SUCCESSFUL. BLONDE SOLD A MILLION PLUS WITHOUT A LABEL, THAT’S SUCCESSFUL. I AM YOUNG, BLACK, GIFTED AND INDEPENDENT.. THAT’S MY TRIBUTE. I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN TUNING INTO CBS AROUND THIS TIME OF YEAR FOR A WHILE TO SEE WHO GETS THE TOP HONOR AND YOU KNOW WHAT’S REALLY NOT ‘GREAT TV’ GUYS? 1989 GETTING ALBUM OF THE YEAR OVER TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY. HANDS DOWN ONE OF THE MOST ‘FAULTY’ TV MOMENTS I’VE SEEN. BELIEVE THE PEOPLE. BELIEVE THE ONES WHO’D RATHER WATCH SELECT PERFORMANCES FROM YOUR PROGRAM ON YOUTUBE THE DAY AFTER BECAUSE YOUR SHOW PUTS THEM TO SLEEP. USE THE OLD GRAMOPHONE TO ACTUALLY LISTEN BRO, I’M ONE OF THE BEST ALIVE. AND IF YOU’RE UP FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE CULTURAL BIAS AND GENERAL NERVE DAMAGE THE SHOW YOU PRODUCE SUFFERS FROM THEN I’M ALL FOR IT. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.”

Drake, Justin Bieber and Kanye also chose not to attend this year.

Solange, who was nominated and won for Best R&B Performance for Cranes in the Sky, tweeted and deleted a response to her sister’s snub.

“there have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year
there have been over 200 black artists who have performed
create your own committees, build your own institutions, give your friends awards, award yourself, and be the gold you wanna hold my g’s”

Did you watch the Grammys? Do you think Beyonce was snubbed? Why or why not? What do you think of Solange’s words?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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14 Comments on "Solange Speaks Out After Beyonce is Snubbed for Album of the Year at the Grammys"

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CM
When blacks begin to support blacks then we can have an issue with the rest of world! Most people are so hypocritical, they crucify others for what they fail to do. For me Beyonce is over rated. She is not the only ‘black’ artist who is making good music. When things don’t go in her favor people get upset. Please. I don’t know how the Grammy is awarded, if it’s album/singles sales, youtube views, air time, etc. So I refuse to say that Beyonce was snobbed. How many years have Beyonce and Solnage attended BET awards, Soul Train Award, black… Read more »
Marin
Ok, I’m ready for ya’ll to come for me. But I get why Adele won and support it. Now, do I think that Lemonade was fantastic? ABSOLUTELY. I actually watched the Grammys expecting Adele to win record of the year, and Beyonce to win album of the year, because while the lyrics and vocal performance of Hello were pretty much a Grammy-winner from onset, Lemonade tells a very compelling story. But we must ask ourselves what album of the year is about. The best parts of Lemonade are the poetry and visual imagery and messaging. BUT…the poems are NOT Beyonce’s,… Read more »
Maria

Solange has got nerve to talk about “Create your own awards” when she presented on the awards show her damn self. Talk about hypocrisy! She’s so faux-deep it gets on my nerves.

Marquita S.

Mean while, in My community…..

Ayanna S

Why don’t the Knowles sisters show up to black award shows the way they do for white award shows?

LaShon Renee

Very good point!

Tai

Solange’s tweet spoke volumes about the continued dichotomy in the music industry…Black artists are valued for their ability to entertain but snubbed for the quality of their artistic output.

Nix

Hear, hear!

Curious indieseed

Just a question, when will we as black folk also start wondering why Indians, native Americans, Africans from Africa and anyone else who isn’t african american isn’t being properly represented and praised ?

kerisha

I was fed up with this fuckery, how many times must one loose to white mediocrity. I say Beyoncé must make the blackest, blackity ,black ,black, album she can ,shoot get solange to help her. Ronnie Dean Burren suggested this, her theory is the grammys will do what the Oscars did with Denzel, just give her album of the year cause they sorry,she is going to get one anyway because they know they messed up. so make the most rachet, black album she can after the twins ofcourse.

TWA4now

She deserved it and should have won!

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