Is there something wrong with the Grammys?


Beyoncé, John Williams, and Paul McCartney all have something special in common. They are a part of the long list of musical artists whose talents have earned them a Grammy award. Since 1959, the Grammys have given out over 100 golden phonograph trophies to artists; some however, have been met with controversies and backlash. Most recently, in 2021, popular R&B artist The Weekend called the Grammys “corrupt” after not receiving a single nomination from his album, “After Hours.” He then vowed to never submit his music again for an award consideration, joining a long list of artists who similarly feel their work has been ignored.  

It is not the first time the Grammys have been called out. In 2017, Frank Ocean decided to keep his music out of consideration for an award, even after going No. 1 on the Billboard charts for his long play album (LP) “Blonde.” The artist stated that he did not want to sit back in the audience and watch another Black artist fail to receive a rightfully earned award. In 2020, rap artist Nicki Minaj released a tweet that looked back on the 2012 Grammys where she lost the “Best New Artist” award after seven of her songs from her breakthrough album “Pink Friday” dominated the charts for weeks, setting a new record in the industry as a female rapper.  

“Historically, (…) white men have been in the winning positions when an artist of color was overlooked,” Sydney Tanner, Senior, said.  

The Grammys separate its awards into Grammys and Latin Grammys, with the only difference being that the music is recorded in Spanish or Portuguese, making artists of different backgrounds and nationalities feel excluded from the Grammys. This leaves them to turn to other music award ceremonies like the Video Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and the American Music Awards because they are known not to select music as the winner just because they are popular white artists. In 2022, for instance, Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny made history by becoming the first Latino artist to win “Artist Of The Year” at the Video Music Awards (VMAs).  

“I always believed from the beginning that I could become great, that I could become the biggest stars in the world without having to change my culture, my language, my jargon,” Bad Bunny said in Spanish, at the VMAs, essentially calling out the Grammys and their Latin rule.  

Although many people argue that the Grammys are biased, others believe that there have been winners who received the awards they deserved. Pioneering women like Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald created pathways for women and artists of color as they made history with their nominations, wins, and iconic music. Fitzgerald became the first woman to receive a nomination in the “Album of the Year” category while Franklin earned eight consecutive awards alongside earning her famous nickname as the “Queen of Soul.”   

“A Grammy is deserved for an artist when the people and listeners say it should be,” Mica Burton, Junior, said. 

Though questions and controversies arise after each ceremony, it will not be until Feb. 5,  2023, where viewers and fans will begin to question again if something is wrong with the Grammys.