Today the Grammys released the official list of nominees and there was finally some diversity in the nominees. The internet was particularly jazzed that “Album of the Year” nominees included three black men, one Hispanic man, and one white woman — for the first time in history there were no white men nominated. No white men that could take away the award from Beyonce for the millionth time (ahem, Beck).
And while I’m thrilled that POC are finally getting the respect and the recognition they deserve, is this really a sign of success? Wouldn’t true representation include WOC, disabled, and LGBTQ visibility as well? Is this really what we’re willing to settle for?
It’s true — Childish Gambino, Jay Z, and Kendrick Lamar are all fully deserving of Album of the Year (although personally, I think Kendrick’s damn. is the clear winner). But while Bruno Mars is incredibly talented, I wouldn’t say 24K Magic is his best album to date. And Lorde’s Melodrama may have been a critical darling but it was no fan favorite.
I know the Grammys typically don’t give Album of the Year to a newbie (although why the hell not?) but SZA’s Ctrl easily could have made the cut. Same applies to Kehlani and SweetSexySavage. And what about Migos’ Culture? There were a lot of amazing albums this year and it wouldn’t have been a stretch for any of these albums to be included and it would have made a huge difference.
And we haven’t even gotten to Song of the Year.
Can we talk about how Despacito was a great song before Justin Bieber came along and yet it could only get a nomination with the Biebs attached? Yes, it’s exciting that a Spanish/English song is nominated but it’s only getting nominated because of a white boy. Full Spanish songs shouldn’t just get recognized at the Latin Grammys. There are currently 41 million native Spanish speakers in the U.S. and yet we constantly toss them aside like stale bread. We give them their own categories but as we should know by now, separate is not equal.
It’s sad because everyone is currently patting themselves on the back for the increased representation. We’ve become so thirsty for any sign of hope that we will literally take anything we can get. But is it enough? Not by a longshot.
Not all of the nominations were a disappointment. Kesha is finally getting some recognition for her song “Praying,” which was hauntingly beautiful and certainly award-worthy. And for the first time, Ed Sheeran didn’t get a million nominations — what many are calling a “snub”, I see as a blessing.
Honestly, who wins a Grammy doesn’t actually matter when it comes to success, record sales, etc. It’s more a reflection on our society. And right now, I don’t like what I see.