Are the Grammy’s rigged?

Lucy Buller, Reporter

Winning a Grammy has been a highly coveted award for over 60 years, but in the last decade, artists and fans have started questioning whether the Recording Academy is biased against artists of color, and if receiving a Grammy has become a less prestigious award in general. Three out of the five acts nominated for the best children’s album Grammy award in the upcoming ceremony removed their names from the running. The acts include the Okee Dokee Brothers, Dog on Fleas and Alastair Moock & Friends. 

The three groups sent a letter to the Recording Academy (Grammy’s) reading, “In the past 10 years, only about 6% of nominated acts have been Black-led or co-led, another 8% or so have been non-Black-POC-led, and around 30% have been female led. These numbers would be disappointing in any category but in a genre whose performers are unique tasked with modeling fairness, kindness, and inclusion; in a country where more than half of all children are non-white and after a year of national reckoning around race and gender, the numbers are unacceptable. We are deeply grateful to the Recording Academy and its voting members for the honor we’ve received, but we can’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has both this year and historically so overlooked women, performers of color, and most especially Black performers.”

Joe Mailander, one of the Okee Dokee Brothers, told National Public Radio (NPR) that he hopes to expand notions of what children’s music is because it is not just white guys with guitars playing for kids. He wants to welcome all different types of music to the community. 

The Weeknd has become a very popular artist in the past decade, winning Grammy awards in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In March of 2020, every song from his album After Hours was in the Billboard Hot 100. In 2020, The Weeknd won Video of the Year and best R&B video at the VMA’s for his popular song Blinding Lights, which he performed at the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show. He also won favorite R&B/soul album for After Hours and favorite male R&B/soul artist at the AMA’s in 2020. 

After the Grammy nominations came out in late 2020, The Weeknd’s name was nowhere to be found on the list. After Blinding Lights broke the record for most weeks spent in the top five on the Hot 100 chart at 43 weeks, even The Weeknd himself was surprised. The day the nominations came out he tweeted, “The Grammy’s remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

“I think it had to do with the fact that he was performing at the Super Bowl and the Grammy’s gave him an ultimatum to either perform at the Super Bowl or the Grammy’s and him and his team picked the Super Bowl,” junior Cynthia Torres said. “It was just upsetting because he had one of the most popular albums of last year so the fact that he isn’t even an option for any category is upsetting.”

Another artist with surprisingly no nominations is Nicki Minaj. Minaj has been nominated 10 times since 2011, but has never walked away with an award. On Nov. 24, Minaj took to Twitter saying, “Never forget the Grammy’s didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had seven songs simultaneously charting on billboard and bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade went on to inspire a generation. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver. #PinkFriday.”

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