Grammy Awards… based on talent or prejudice?

Lupita Ruiz, Feature Editor

Since 2016, the Grammys have traumatized me. Album of the Year is the biggest category at the Grammys, and a majority of the audience watches to see which album wins the award. Well, in 2016 my favorite artist of all time, Kendrick Lamar, was nominated for Album of the Year for his famous album, To Pimp A Butterfly. His album changed the pathway for hip-hop and many said it reminded them of much of the hip-hop and rap music released in the ‘90s because of its emotional depth. All of his songs encapsulated different topics such as police brutality, racism, sexism, colorism and way more. How could he not win,  am I right?

Well, he didn’t win, and I was heartbroken. Taylor Swift won for her album 1989, and since I’m not the biggest Taylor Swift fan and believe she often pits women against each other through her music, I was mad. So after the devastating loss, I started thinking about how a majority of the past winners in the Album of the Year category were white. Now, I’m not exactly calling the Grammys racist; I mean, some pretty amazing artists have won who happen to be people of color, but looking into the Album of the Year category specifically makes one question the awards show a little bit. I decided to do my own research on this.  The Grammy awards started in the year 1950, and since then,  the winner of Album of the Year has been a person of color only 12 times. Yes, you read that correctly. Although, Bruno Mars won in 2018 for 24k Magic, it had been 10 years since a person of color won the category. The Grammys isn’t the only awards show with the same type of controversy.

The same year that Taylor Swift’s 1989beat Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp of Butterflyis also when many celebrities boycotted the Academy Awards because there were barely any people of color nominated for Oscars. Celebrities such as Will Smith decided to not attend. By doing this, they made a statement on how much of the entertainment industry was blind to the art people of color were making, such as music, film and television. Since I would like to work in the film industry one day, it hurts to see these types of things still happening.

However, people of color are still continuing to thrive no matter what. My favorite movie of all time, Moonlight, won best picture at the Oscars in 2017, and it was the first movie with an all-black cast to ever win Best Picture. Also, there are three artists of color who could win Album of Year for the 2020 Grammys. From now on, let’s pay attention to the amazing films, shows and music that people of color are making. Even though I am still hurt about Kendrick’s album not winning in 2016, I still have hope that one day he will win, and then maybe I will start to watch the Grammys again.