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
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 of this year’s most notable omissions — Pop Smoke, Lil Baby, Popcaan, PartyNextDoor — are Black artists. There’s a reason Drake ended his November diatribe by pointing out that now “is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come.”
Yet, this is where a solution highlights a very different problem. If a new award show is needed to properly celebrate Black music, why aren’t artists supporting the alternatives that already exist?
In a January interview with Billboard, The Weeknd insinuated that his snub had been racially motivated, pointing out that in 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won album of the year. Yet, he’s never attended the Soul Train Music Awards — even though he’s been nominated eight times and won an album of the year award in 2015 for Beauty Behind the Madness. Drake hasn’t attended a BET Hip Hop Award show since 2011, even though…