Beyonce was very much expected to take home the Album of the Year award for Lemonade at Grammys 2017, but Adele won the coveted award for her bestseller 25 on Sunday night, triggering an avalanche of criticism on social media. Grammy voters favoring Adele over Beyonce for Album of the Year award has snowballed into a major controversy, with increasing number of voices believing that Lemonade lost out on the award because of racism and cultural bias.
Soon after Adele’s win, #GrammysSoWhite started trending on Twitter. One of the posters said that it was a travesty that black artists continue to get snubbed, while another said that it was the fifth time in a row a white artist had won over a deserving black artist.
#GrammysSoWhite let's get this going. We gotta change the narrative now. It's a travesty black artists continuously gets snubbed.
— Damedashbk (@DameDashBEYk) February 13, 2017
#GrammysSoWhite for the fifth time in a row, a so-so white artist has won Album of the Year over a deserving Black artist.
— Muva Mikey (@Mikey_Talks) February 13, 2017
It is not just fans, but music critics also have been equally critical of Beyonce’s provocative album not winning the Album of the Year award at the 59th Grammy Awards. In his scathing piece, Jon Caramanica of the New York Times slammed the Grammys, saying that like America, it too had an inclusion problem.
“Simply put, the Grammy, like America, have an inclusion problem — or more to the point, an exclusion problem.”
Chris Richards of the Washington Post too was scathing in his analysis piece. He wrote that by choosing Adele’s album over Beyonce’s Lemonade, the Grammys had finally “curdled into something unacceptable.” He also wrote that black artists had been making era-defining pop music, but the Grammys continue to ignore them and award the less-imaginative work done by white artists.
“For the past five years, black artists have been making era-defining pop music, some of which has been nominated for the heaviest Grammy in the land, Album of the Year. Then, when ‘music’s biggest night’ eventually rolls around, each and every one of these artists loses to a white act doing less-challenging, less-timely, less-imaginative work.”
Kevin Powell, American political activist-writer, believes that Beyonce’s Lemonade was “just too black” for Grammy voters. He told CNN that Beyonce’s album made a lot of people uncomfortable as it was “unapologetically black,” adding America is still a country that does not want to deal with the truth.
“Beyonce’s Lemonade made a lot of people uncomfortable, because it is so political, so spiritual, so unapologetically black, and so brutally honest about love, self-love, trust, betrayal. We are still a nation that does not want to deal so directly with truth.”
Powell said that Adele’s 25 was safe and uncontroversial, and it broke no new ground just like Grammy voters.
“Adele’s album is strong, but it is just songs about love. It is safe and uncontroversial; it breaks no new ground. And neither do Grammy voters, generally speaking, when it comes to picking winners of this particular award.”
Music critics often claim that the Grammy voters, members of the Recording Academy, are not a diverse group. Earlier this month, one of the Grammy voters said to Billboard that a majority of the voting members were still “too white, too old and too male,” and they still had a long way to go to become diverse in terms of minorities, females and younger ages.
Another Grammy voter had told Rolling Stone that “elderly median age” could prefer Adele over Beyonce.
“Beyonce should win because her song was more culturally significant and more innovative. Adele – we feel like we’ve seen that show before. But I would not underestimate the average age of Grammy voters, and the chance that the sort of ‘elder median age’ could put Adele in.”
On Sunday night, Adele too acknowledged that Beyonce should have won the Album of the Year award. During her acceptance speech, she called Lemonade a monumental work.
“The artist of my life is Beyonce, and this album to me, the Lemonade album, was just so monumental. It was so monumental and well thought-out and beautiful and soul-bearing… We appreciate that. All of us artists here adore you. You are our light.”
Later backstage, Adele said, as quoted by CNN, that she was rooting for Beyonce and voted for her.
“I was completely rooting for her, I voted for her. I felt like it was her time to win. What the f— does she have to do to win album of the year?”
If Beyonce had won the Album of the Year award, she would have become the first black woman after Lauryn Hill, who won it in 1999, to win it. And the last black artist to win album of the year was Herbie Hancock in 2008.
Beyonce, who recently announced that she was pregnant with twins, took home urban contemporary album trophy on Sunday night.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]