Beyoncé Should Win All the Grammys This Weekend, but It Won’t Make Up for How This Show Treats Black Women and Black Art

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

On its surface, when news hit of Beyoncé leading the 2017 Grammy Awards with nine nominations, it read as nothing short of a win for the behemoth pop star. The Houston native has scored nods in the three big categories: Album of the Year, for her sixth studio offering, Lemonade; and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for its lead single, “Formation.”

Beyoncé will compete in other categories, such as Best Rock Performance (“Don’t Hurt Yourself,” with Jack White), Best Pop Solo Performance (“Hold Up”) and Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Freedom,” with Kendrick Lamar). The end result is that Beyoncé has become the first artist ever to earn nominations in such an array of categories in a single year.

On that feat, Neil Portnow, CEO and president of the Recording Academy, told the Associated Press in an interview: “Artists are feeling emboldened and courageous and just wanting to step out of the predictable boundaries of what they have done. Of course, [Beyoncé] is the poster child for that.”

With these new nominations, in addition to already winning 20 Grammy Awards, Beyoncé has become the most nominated woman in Grammy history, with 62 nominations. Yet if we are to believe that Portnow is sincere in his description of Beyoncé, it ought to be made clear that despite her historymaking news, the Grammys have failed to truly honor her artistry beyond very predictable boundaries of R&B and “urban contemporary.” The Negro League subcategories, if you will.

That is not to negate, diminish or even place an asterisk near Beyoncé’s Grammy history. Hell, I’s a Negro and very happy with Negro-centered celebrations. However, it does speak to an overall pattern that this show has long had with honoring black art, especially if it is crafted by a black woman. Of all Beyoncé’s Grammy wins, the only major category she has ever won in is for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which won Best Song of the Year in 2010.

In 2004, “Crazy in Love” lost Record of the Year to Coldplay’s “Clocks.” In 2014, “Drunk in Love,” a massive hit, was not even nominated in that category, though works from the likes of Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift were. And of course, this was the same year that Beyoncé’s eponymous fifth album notoriously lost in the Album of the Year category to Beck’s Morning Phase. Headlines pointing to a glaring snub were seen far and wide, but no one was as vocal about it as Kanye West.

Read the rest at The Root.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone