Do The Grammy’s Have a Race Problem?

On Sunday night, Queen Bey’s nine nominations were nothing compared to Adele as the singer swept all major categories: Album of the year, record of the year, and song of the year. However, many responded to this news concerned about the Grammy’s racial history. Are the people who run the Grammy’s racist? Let’s take a closer look.

Even Adele thinks that Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album should have won album of the year over her. The British star explained in her acceptance speech that she has loved Beyoncé since she was a young girl.

Later in the night, Adele pulled a total Mean Girls moment and returned on stage with her Grammy broken into two to give a piece to Beyoncé. This act caused a firestorm on social media as fans everywhere made references to the movie. However, Adele’s mention of how Beyoncé empowered her “black friends” in her acceptance speech received reasonable backlash on Twitter.

If you ask me, Adele’s heart was and is in the right place.

“Lemonade” was written as a political, social and unapologetically black album about love, honesty and all aspects of life. The project tackled themes and imagery of race that sparked the question to many if it was “too black” to win. Since 1959, only 10 black artists have won album of the year and that statistic has been far from ignored. #GrammysSoWhite resurfaced on Twitter Sunday evening surrounding the conversation.

Despite criticism, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow insists that the show is fair. However, other artists like Sufjan Stevens and Beyoncé’s sister Solange Knowles believe that the Grammys need to do a better job dealing with racial equality. Solange stated in a tweet that is now deleted, “There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for an album of the year there have been over 200 black artist who have performed.” But, by Monday night the critical tweets from Knowles were gone from Twitter.

Portnow combated the statements in an interview with Pitchfork saying that, “this is a peer-voted award. So when we say the Grammys, it’s not a corporate entity—it’s the 14,000 members of the Academy.”

Any way you look at it, it has been 20 years since a black artist has won album of the year. Maybe it will take someone with such a huge spotlight like Beyoncé for the industry to consider changes.

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