Why No One Talks About Race At Award Shows


Frank tried to warn us:

‘…you know what’s really not ‘great TV’ guys? 1989 getting album of the year over To Pimp A Butterfly. Hands down one of the most ‘faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen.’

Time and again we’ve seen this happen. What constitutes an album of the year? Well firstly it needs to be one of the best albums of the year but also needs to be a huge talking point and shift pop culture in a significant way. For our internet savvy times that means articles, tweets and yes memes. Now ask yourself what album have people been talking about more? ‘Lemonade’ or ‘25’? What album hit headlines? Stayed in headlines, changed how we talk about albums and has been a talking point from outset? And what album kind of came and went?


Black music runs the music industry. Proof? Black artists don’t win the main awards. The last time a black artist did win was 2007. Herbie Hancock and it was for an album of covers. But a black album full of black culture? Of course not. But want to throw a party of to celebrate the music industry and who do you call? Who delivers the most notable and show stopping performances?

Why is it that all the biggest talking points of these award shows are always black music, but they receive none of the accolades?  So essentially Taylor Swift won two back to back ‘Album Of The Year’ awards but when has she ever given a notable performance that didn’t see Kanye snatching the mic from her first? So she makes the best music but no one wants to see her perform it?

Katy Perry was there. I promise she was. She had a vaguely political arm band on. So that was great. But not noteworthy. Cast your mind back to the 2015 VMA’s. MTV decided to give the black acts a year off and the most notable incident? Nicki Minaj said ‘Yo Miley? What’s good?’ That was it, the whole thing, Google it yourself. There’s even an article on how dead it was.

A year later? A Rihanna special, an entire Beyoncé segment, Jidenna, Future, Ty Dolla and Nicki Minaj. Other notable performances were how pitchy the Chainsmokers were and how MTV doomed Britney Spears to fail by having her follow Beyoncé’s performance.

Oh and can we talk about the fact that Migos dominated 2016 and had the (what everyone thought would be the President) dabbing on Ellen and didn’t get a single Grammy nod. Yet the Chainsmokers….You know what? I’ll say it, imagine if The Chainsmokers were black.

Future ran 2015-2016. Alongside Migos and Rae Sremmurd had a number single that was co-signed by the lead singer of The Beatles. But not even a Grammy nod?

The usual argument for these miscarriages tends to be vote splitting.


Which is kinda relevant but also ends up with the same result:

‘…is that it tends to reward older or at least whiter artists at the expense of young, often black artists who have more pop cultural cachet at this moment in time.’

Old white boomers don’t like black music. If you want to point to people liking Adele’s record sales well Eminem already told you what that is on ‘White America’

‘White America’

‘…if I was black I would’ve sold half/ I ain’t have to graduate from Lincoln High School to know that./’

We can stay with Em if you want? Sure. Ok, one of the most important rappers on the planet, granted. But for his 7 albums he’s won 6 ‘Rap Album Of The Year’ Grammys. 6? Really one, MAYBE two are justified, but 6? Eminem only likes 4 of his albums himself. So take that and then the fact that he’s only been nominated for ‘Album Of The Year’ 3 times. And the one time he was a shoe in (Duh ‘MMLP’ ran 2000-01) he lost to…Steeley Dan…yup. Now finally stir in the fact that the only rap albums that have won ‘Album Of The Year’ are two undisputed classics but albums that aren’t necessarily the most ‘rap heavy’ rap albums. ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill’ and Outkast’sSpeakerboxxx/The Love Below’. Mix that all together in a pot and you have people who don’t like black music, but if they have to award it – they’ll give it to the white guy. (See also: Macklemore > Kendrick)

Twenty One Pilots. They had a great year with a number one album and huge success. But of all the success Twenty One Pilots have had was ‘Stressed Out’ a bigger song than Rihanna’sWork’? Put aside whether you liked the song or not, which one was bigger? It’s hard to not see ‘Stressed Outs’ win as anything other than ‘Anything but that wur wur wur nonsense’ And yes that’s the rhetoric that came out about the song. ‘Rihanna’s not even saying words’ (Completely ignoring the clear patois references and dismissing them as ‘nonsense’)

Twenty One Pilot’s career isn’t even as popular as the song ‘Work’ so it’s clearly not about name recognition. But even if it was; surely as a voter it’s your job to be up on all the most popular music of all genres? And how time and time again the same artists are passed over for the white ones regardless of quality and impact, how is it anything but race?

But at the end of the day in 2017 The Grammy’s exist solely to piss people off. That’s about as much a talking point they can be. But it’s the artists that allow this to happen. They come and collect their ‘urban’ awards,  allow themselves to be used to promote the show and never win and never win the main categories.

Once the Beyonce’s stop performing at the show, guaranteed they’ll suddenly be coaxed back with wins.

But really:

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