We Have Progressed Past the Need for the Recording Academy

By: Riley Alexander

On Tuesday November 24, 2020, the recording academy released the nominations list for the 2021 Grammy Awards.  The list included artists and albums you would expect such as “Say So” by Doja Cat for Record of the Year, and Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” for Album of the Year.  However with the numerous snubs and exceptions in this year’s nominations list it begs the question of whether the Recording Academy truly knows good music.

The Recording Academy has a long and storied history of snubbing artists for both nominations and awards.  Look at the 54th Grammys (2012) when Nicki Minaj did not win Best New Artist despite having 7 songs and features charting at the same time for consecutive weeks. Or take the 59th Grammys when Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” lost Album of the Year to Adele’s “25” (2017).  There seems to be a pattern in who the academy snubs and who it rewards and it often seems to break down along color lines.

This year, the two artists who received no nominations despite releasing two of the best albums of the year were Rina Sawayama for “SAWAYAMA” and The Weekend for “After Hours”.  These albums were masterworks or production, lyricism, and performance and yet received a total of zero (0) Grammy nominations.  Without their inclusion in this year’s nomination. It begs the question of whether or not awards shows hold any authority over what is good art.

I am of the opinion that we get to decide what art is and what makes it good.  Gone are the days of “high culture” decided by the noble classes and disseminated down to the masses. We live in an age where anyone can access the best any artwork has to offer at the push of a button. Award shows are one metric by which we can measure success, but not the only authority on what is good.  I think it’s past time we all just decide what’s good for ourselves without the input of some nebulous “Recording Academy”. Stream the music you like to and move past the Grammy Awards.  They don’t know good music anyway.

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