It doesn’t take a genius to know that the Grammy’s don’t accurately represent the best of today’s music. During this year’s show, there were a lot of moments that many viewers considered disappointing—possibly the most upsetting being Beyoncé losing album of the year. However, this was not the most irritating part of the night. What really got me was the introduction of the Grammy Creator’s Alliance.
The Grammy Creator’s Alliance is a group formed by current and active members of the music industry who wish to protect and strengthen the copyright laws on music. They are doing so, as they say, in an effort to make sure that there is a way for artists of the future to break into the industry despite growing privacy issues. While this seems like a great and caring proposition, the Grammys fell totally flat in proving the importance of the group and its mission during the televised event.
This year, many of the nominees were diverse and new and young and talented and they were all looking for a way to break through into the respected realm of the music-verse. However, those individuals received absolutely no attention at the Grammy Awards. Instead, they chose to show and honor the same handful of artists over and over again.
Yes, we get it. Sam Smith had a groundbreaking night after a groundbreaking year where his voice could almost always be heard somewhere on the radio. Yes, Beyoncé is the perfect and flawless queen of the entire world. Yes, Kanye is insane and always giving us something to think about. And yes, Katy Perry’s hair changes color, like, seven times a day. We get it. We’re used to it. And, like we do every year, we’ll remember their onscreen moments for months afterwards.
Do you know who we won’t remember from the Grammys? The people who aren’t staples in the industry. The people who earned the right to be at the Grammys, but were never shown. We won’t remember the people that the Grammy Creators Alliance are apparently working to support, because they are still busy showcasing those who no longer need support in order to practice their craft and make a living.
This is most evident in rap and hip-hop. These are easily the most influential and popular types of music right now. This year, new faces like Childish Gambino, Jhené Aiko, Common, and Schoolboy Q were introduced through the Grammys. With those names not even completing the list, there was an outstanding amount of talent representing the genre, yet they were not focused on at all. Aside from Kanye West, not a single person in the genre was mentioned or recognized throughout the program. The winners for the awards were announced before the televised show even began.
With such strong a emphasis on the introduction of a new coalition to support up-and-coming artists, and with rap and hip-hop being the fastest growing genre in music today, does it make sense for members of the genre to have such little support?
I’m not saying that artists who are already hugely successful in the industry do not deserve recognition for their work. That’s a given. But in a world where we have more availability than ever to allow people to have a voice and spread their beliefs to the public, why limit who we support and recognize to those whom we already know? We need to broaden our eyes and beliefs to allow for more and more talents to break through to the music industry and have their voices heard.
After all, which line is more influential? “Why am I so emotional? No, it’s not a good look, gain some self-control and deep down I know this never works but you can lay with me so it doesn’t hurt.” (“Stay with Me,” by Sam Smith. Song of the Year) or “Dreams of reality’s peace, blow steam in the face of the beast. The sky could fall down, the wind could cry now, the strong in me, I still smile.” (“I,” Kendrick Lamar. Best Rap Performance).