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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