Grammys’ “music programming” is a bit stale

Grammys' "music programming" is a bit stale

The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category that would allow artists like Mos Def and Talib Kweli to compete.

The proposal would let producers, including some in hip-hop, enter with songs that would be deemed “afrocentric” (meaning mostly African or African-influenced) or “traditionally-influenced” — a label that would, in turn, be applied to each artist’s album.

It would open up the pool of potential nominees from a category that, last year, included artists like Mariah Carey, The Black Eyed Peas, and Jennifer Lopez.

But the proposal appears to fly in the face of the Grammy Awards’ current “music programming,” which is almost entirely centered on pop/R&B, dance, and hip hop — categories that have not traditionally been used to recognize African music or the contributions of Black artists to music.

The Grammys did include categories for hip hop and R&B in the category for album of the year. The “Best Pop Vocal Album” category was not recognized. And while hip hop and R&B artists have had their moments at the Grammys (like when Outkast won an award in 2002 for “Aquemini”), they were not included in the major categories. (It’s not like hip hop or R&B has won a Grammy since “We Are Young” or “Congratulations” by Outkast in 1994.)

But while the Grammys didn’t choose to recognize R&B at the awards, they said that hip hop songs would be eligible. And it is difficult to predict a hip hop song will be able to compete for an award with a more mainstream song, like Adele’s “Rolling In The Donals” or “The Emancipation of Mimi.” (The latter song won top prize in the Billboard charts and charted at No. 1 on the Hot 100.)

Many artists would also find it difficult to compete with lesser-known female artists, like Lady Gaga, for example, whose videos

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