With every action comes an equal and opposite reaction, which, at least in the industry of complaint, can be translated to mean this: every Grammy nomination promises an internet fight club over who didn’t make the cut.
It’s just simple science. The Grammys are undoubtedly the most prestigious institution in music, so it’s no wonder people get mad when their favourite artists don’t get nominated. (See, for example, the outrage over Beyoncé having never won an Album of the Year award.)
The point of the Grammys is to honour the supposed best musical achievements made by performers working in any given year. But the Recording Academy — that shadowy deciding body of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals — has frequently been criticized for seeming out of touch at best and, at worst, completely corrupt.
“"[The Grammys are] ripe with corruption."”
Part of this is, obviously, subjective. There’s no absolute truth in saying one artist should be nominated over another. But some frustrations have been substantiated recently, when the newly suspended Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan announced she believes the institution’s nomination process is “rigged.”
“In that room not only are there trustees that have conflicts of interest on particular artists that are nominated, but more importantly there are even artists nominated that are in the room,” Dugan said in a recent interview on CBS This Morning. “So for me, that’s just such a blatant conflict of interest.”
For many, this didn’t come as a surprise. The Recording Academy has long been acquainted with impassioned accusations of sexism, racism, and a refusal to synchronize itself with the current cultural tempo. Dugan validated these concerns, too, when she described the Academy’s nomination review committees as a “mostly white, male” system that’s primarily interested in “taking care of their own.”
The 2020 nominations have already been thoroughly dragged for falling short on recognizing some of this year’s most impressive hip-hop artists, like DaBaby, Gunna, and Megan Thee Stallion (whose name may as well be synonymous with 2019 rap music).
Basically, the Grammys are — as Andrew Chow and Cady Lang wrote at Time magazine — “fighting a war against obsolescence.” Whether they’ll win is yet to be seen, but if you like, you can witness the latest battle on Sunday to see for yourself which injustices descend upon your favourite icon.
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