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Impact Articles

The Grammys Finally Diversify Their Nominations for Album of the Year

Impact
Dec 18, 2017

The Grammys Finally Diversify Their Nominations for Album of the Year

BY : ZARNA SURTI

The Grammys Finally Diversify Their Nominations for Album of the Year

No white men were nominated this year - here's why it matters.

Remember in 2009 when Kanye West got on the VMA stage to say Beyonce deserved best female video over Taylor Swift? Well, of course you remember it, we were all praising him while feeling completely uncomfortable at the same time. That specific moment represented a shift, and ever since then, awards shows have taken a tumble in terms of credibility and viewership. They used to be the end all be all of music, movies, and theater, but with disappointed viewers sharing their commentary on social media and beyond, this type of formal praise was starting to seem outdated—until now.

There’s been a much needed increase in awareness around racial and sexual prejudices since the 2016 presidential election, but even longer than that, we’ve seen people of color boycott many A-list awards shows due to their lack of diversity. The Grammys have been under fire recently for just that (like other shows, remember #OscarsSoWhite?). At the 2016 Grammys, Taylor Swift’s 1989 won album of the year over Kendrick Lamar’s groundbreaking To Pimp A Butterfly, which caused an outrage among many angry views and fans. Just last year, album of the year went to Adele’s 25, and she famously got on stage and tearfully said “I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful and gracious, but my artist of my life is Beyonce.” She continues to say, “The Lemonade album was just so monumental, Beyonce, and so well thought out, and so beautiful and soul baring, and we all got to see another side to you that we don’t always get to see, and we appreciate that. And all us artists here, we fucking adore you.”

You might even remember Kanye West and Drake infamously declined their invites last year—even though the two of them had the most nods of the night. Even Frank Ocean didn’t submit Endless and Blonde for Grammy consideration. These stances, among others, made many of us think the Grammys were losing their clout—but this year’s nominations might just change that.

When the nominees were announced on November 28th, viewers were pleasantly surprised to see a lineup including Childish Gambino’s “Awaken My Love!”, Jay-Z’s 4:44, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., Lorde’s Melodrama, and Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic. For the first time since 1999, the category doesn’t include one white male artist or group. Continuing the celebration of artists of color, all five songs nominated for record of the year also came from artists of color. In the running are “1-800-273-8255” by Logic, “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars, “4:44” by Jay-Z, “Issues” by Julia Michaels, and “Despacito (Remix)” by Luis Fonsi.

While we expected to see fan favorites like Bruno Mars, Jay-Z, and Kendrick Lamar in the running, it’s also refreshing to see emerging artists of color like Goldlink, Khalid, SZA, Cardi B, and Daniel Caesar nominated. Another amazing nod was to Luis Fonzi’s “Despacito”—a global hit that we all listened to nonstop (whether we played it as a guilty pleasure or blasted it in our cars). His remix with Daddy Yankee and Justin Beiber is said to have sparked a resurgence in the Latin pop genre.

What’s up next for these artists? Taking home a coveted Grammy for the win. If you haven’t listened to the album of the year nominees yet (or if you just want a refresher), check out their groundbreaking albums below: