Black Artists Are Fed Up With Grammy Snubs, But Don’t Always Respect the Alternatives

Black awards shows exist, yet artists never seem to hold them in the same regard

Keith Nelson Jr
LEVEL
Published in
8 min readMar 12, 2021

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Smokey Robinson and Charlie Wilson perform during the 2020 Soul Train Awards presented by BET. Photo: Leon Bennett/STA 2020/Getty Images

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The Weeknd’s never been known for seizing the spotlight. Even dating back to his mysterious early mixtapes, the R&B artist has chosen to let his music do the talking. But last November, after his Billboard-busting, Super Bowl-sized album After Hours received zero Grammy nominations, the normally reclusive artist let it fly. “The Grammys remain corrupt,” he said on Twitter. “You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency…” His countryman Drake echoed the sentiment later that day on Instagram, comparing the Recording Academy to “a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways.”

Corruption allegations and drunk uncle allusions from arguably the two biggest artists in the world about the most coveted award in all of music may be sensational, but they’re not shocking. In recent years, artists like Frank Ocean have boycotted the Grammys due to similar concerns; by now the outrage over nominations is all but an annual tradition. And indeed, it’s hard to ignore the fact that so many…

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Keith Nelson Jr
LEVEL
Writer for

Writer by fate, journalist by passion. Bylines at: REVOLT, Grammys.com, Discogs, Vibe Magazine, Okayplayer, REVERB, LEVEL Mag https://linktr.ee/KeithNelsonJr