I am tired of reading about how Beyonce was robbed, snubbed, slighted, passed over, victimized by the racist establishment, etc. at this year’s Grammy Awards!
Whew! Now that I got that out, let’s get one thing straight: I love Beyonce.
Her performance on Sunday was visually stunning, and riddled with meaning—even though Bruno Mars was, hands down, the best performer of the night for me—and I’m glad she won the Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music video awards. Of course I would have liked to see her take home more hardware, but it is what it is.
That being said, I also love Adele.
Do I think her voice is superior to Beyonce’s? No. Do I think her stage presence and performances come anywhere close to Beyonce’s? Absolutely not. Do I think that 25 was a better album than Lemonade? No. No. No.
But I still love Adele as an artist.
I don’t think she deserved the album of the year award… but no one can fault anyone who feels this way, because not even Adele thinks she deserved the Album of the Year award.
So how exactly did the Grammy voters get it wrong?
Was it the idea that Black Americans have to work twice as hard to be seen as half as good? Or the idea that Black women’s contributions are not really seen at all? Were inherent prejudices at play?
I don’t know, but here’s what I do know about the Grammy voting process…
The criteria for getting into the voting academy feels lax. You have to be an industry professional with creative or technical credits on at least six commercially released tracks.
In college, I had a music professor who was part of the Grammy voting academy. He was a white male probably late 40’s to early 50’s who openly admitted that he had no idea how he should vote in certain genre (re: Urban) categories. Instead of listening to the music himself and forming an opinion based on his knowledge and expertise, he decided to poll his class of barely adults—most of whom were just there to fill the core requirement. I thought it was cool at the time, but that was before I realized that the Grammys are not supposed to be based on popularity or numbers. Grammys are awarded for artistry—an artistry that none of us were qualified to assess at the time.
Since then, I’ve wondered how many other Grammy voters cast their ballots haphazardly. This year I wonder if every voter even listened to Lemonade, or paid attention to it’s imagery and messaging. I wonder if they even noticed how much thought and care went into it. I wonder if they considered the impact that it had on the world. Did they even care to?
Again, I don’t know.
But I know I don’t want to hear anymore public outcry for Beyonce or any more analyses on the politics and prejudices that may or may not have gone into her losing to Adele. It’s exhausting. She lost. She’ll live. She’s still the queen.