People Rejoice When No White Men Get Nominated For Album Of The Year

Jena Greene | Contributor

Internet warriors, pop music critics, and jilted coastal elites are dancing in the streets today because the Recording Academy is officially woke.

Grammy nominations were released today and the internet waited eagerly, ready to tear apart the Academy for giving white males any sort of recognition.

Except that’s not what happened. In fact, not a single white male was nominated for the prestigious Album Of The Year award.

The LA Times was one of the first to emphasize the race divide. In a long article, “Grammy Nods For Women, People Of Color An Encouraging Sign The Recording Academy Is Paying Attention,” white pop music critic Mikael Wood hails the Academy’s progressivism. He details past injustices, like when the Grammys prioritized talent and popularity, instead of color or gender.

He writes:

From Frank Sinatra in the 1960s to Paul Simon in the 1970s to U2 in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s, one set of musicians has long had reason to feel secure in its privileged position at the Grammy Awards. Well, roll over, white guys, and tell Beethoven the news.

He drones on, giving the most predictable monologue about oppressed groups finally rising up to take what’s rightfully theirs.

Except he doesn’t concede that these nominations are rightfully theirs. Not in the traditional sense, at least.

“[the nominations] constitute an encouraging sign that academy members are actually paying attention to the culture, recognizing the music that had the most to say,”

Herein lies the issue. The Grammys aren’t supposed to recognize people that “have the most to say.” They’re supposed to judge music based on popularity and talent.

Take Colin Kaepernick as an example. He certainly had a lot to say this year but he’s not gonna win MVP because – simply put – he isn’t good enough for a team to sign right now.

Plenty of people on Twitter also noticed the lack of white men. Race seemed to be the only thing anybody was talking about this morning.

Most critics and acclaimed cultural commentators seem to agree that this is a much needed, long awaited correction in the music industry. Never mind that some of this year’s nominees – like Lil Uzi Vert – feature songs with abusive language, violence, and something else… Violence.

The reaction to the Grammy nominations don’t reflect progress. It reflects a loss of the merit based system, quickly eclipsed by a race game.

If we continue to fixate on race and gender as a person’s only defining factor, color divides grow wider and objectification gets sharper. Call me crazy, but I don’t see progress as giving priority to select winners based on race.

Jena Greene

Contributor

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