The Grammys have made a bold announcement, emphasising their attempt at creating a more inclusive musical landscape. Amongst other changes, they have decided to get rid of the “Best Urban Contemporary Album” with a new category titled “Best Progressive R&B Album”.
The Grammys came under fire this past year, when rapper Tyler, the Creator called the organisation out for slating black musicians under the “Urban” category, regardless of the genre of music they are exploring. He said: “I don’t like that urban word, it’s just a politically correct way of saying the “N” word.” He went on to say, “When I hear that, I’m just like, “why can’t we just be in pop?”
Many musicians have come out in support of that opinion on the Grammys’ categories. Pop star Billie Eilish, who admittedly adores Tyler, the Creator, revealed that: “I agree with him. Don’t judge an artist off the way someone looks or the way someone dresses.” She went on to cite the example of Lizzo, saying: “Wasn’t Lizzo in the Best R&B category that night? I mean, she’s more pop than I am”. The urban category has historically nominated musicians of black origin, including Beyonce, Lizzo and more.
In their statement regarding the changes being made to every Grammys Award show in the coming years, the organisation said: “These changes have been made in order to be inclusive and reflect[ed] the current state of the music industry”.
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues in full swing, record labels and music companies have come out in support of a more inclusive music landscape that provides equality and justice to all. Republic Records too made changes to its categorisation of music and genres, getting rid of the urban label ahead of the Grammys.
By: Ahalya Narayanan