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What’s Wrong with Black Art?

From Prince to Frank Ocean, from Beyonce to Michael Jackson, and from Kanye West to Kendrick Lamar, black musicians have always been known to push the boundaries of pop culture forward. Even though black musicians continue to create quality products that the world loves, the Grammy’s has continuously denied them the rewards that they deserve.


During this year’s Grammys, Drake was awarded Best Rap Song for a song in which he himself has stated is not a rap song. Hip Hop/Rap has only recently became a recognized by the Academy as of 1996 as the Academy announced the Best Rap Album category and Black R&B artists have been pigeon holed into the Best Urban Contemporary category. This beckons the question, “What is wrong with Black Art?”


Recently at the 2017 Grammy’s when Beyonce lost to Adele for Album of the Year, we saw how oblivious the Academy was. This left even Adele puzzled asking the Academy, “What the f*** does Beyonce have to do to win Album of the Year.” Black musicians typically create content for their fans who are typically black but, the end consumer is the rest of the United States where blacks people are in the minority. Even still, black artists are adored across the board. The quality of their work is undeniable but there is something about Beyonce’s, “Lemonade” or Prince’s “1999” that the Academy does not deem worthy of Album of the Year.


Prior the the Grammys, Frank Ocean also posted a response to the Academy criticizing them for being out of touch with the people. Frank Ocean also stated that instead of submitting his album to the Grammy’s, he has opted to seek validation within himself.

This poses an interesting idea; that black artists should stop looking to the Grammys for awards and validation all together. The Grammy’s needs names of these entertainers to get viewers but if stars like Beyonce or Kanye West stop attending and submitting their work to their Grammys, the Academy might take notice and make some changes. Many people suggest that outraged viewers should stop giving the Grammys so much attention and hold the BET Awards or the BET Hip Hop awards in a higher regard but it seems that it is much easier said than done.


The Grammys needs to keep up with the culture but, this shines a brighter light not on what is wrong with black art in the context of a predominantly white award show, but what is wrong with the Academy. Pop culture is deeply tied to black culture but continuously shuns it like the girlfriend or boyfriend that the parents weren’t supposed to find out about. Black artists will persevere as they have for decades and slowly, mainstream pop culture may grow to accept it.


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