Grammys Race Controversy Lives On: Was Beyoncé More Deserving Than Adele?

Grammys president Neal Portnow has responded to suggestions that the Grammy Awards has a race problem. The Huffington Post reported that, on February 12, Beyoncé was beaten by Adele in all three major categories, and this included album of the year.

After stepping onto the stage to accept the final award of the evening, Adele claimed that Beyoncé’s Lemonade was much more deserving than her own album, 25, which of course reopened the debate on whether black artists were not being accurately represented at the awards. Via Rolling Stone magazine, Portnow dismissed the accusation and responded with the following statement.

“I don’t think there’s a race problem at all. Remember, this is a peer-voted award, it’s not a corporate entity – it’s the 14,000 members of the Academy. It’s always hard to create objectivity out of something that’s inherently subjective, which is what art and music is about. We do the best we can.”

He insisted that race is not an issue when Academy members listen to the nominated efforts.

“When you go to vote on a piece of music – at least the way that I approach it – is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen. It’s a matter of what you react to and what in your mind as a professional really rises to the highest level of excellence in any given year. And that is going to be very subjective. That’s what we ask our members to do, even in the ballots.”

Solange, Beyonce’s sister, was quick to point out how important it is that black artists be recognized for their amazing contribution to the industry. The morning after the Grammy Awards, Solange took to Twitter, highlighting how few winners were of non-white origin and the disparity between black and white performers invited to perform at the ceremony. This point was also very clearly made by Kanye West in 2015 when Beyoncé lost out to Adele.

Adele has spoken openly about the devastating mishap at the Grammys, saying that she was devastated she had to restart her tribute to George Michael.

According to the Huffington Post, Adele was invited to perform a tribute to the late George Michael by delivering an orchestral version of his song “Fastlove,” but unfortunately her performance at the Grammys got off to a very shaky start, so Adele very quickly brought her performance to a live hold (after dropping the “F” bomb) and restarted her performance. There’s no denying that she delivered a perfect rendition of the song; however, Adele was visibly shaken by what had occurred and admitted to reporters after the awards that she was devastated by what had occurred on stage.

“My rehearsal… I did have a shaky rehearsal today. But I have been working very hard on this tribute for him, every day. George is one of our truest icons. I love him.”

George Michael has always been a musical idol of Adele’s, and she admitted that she even dressed up as the late singer for her birthday party in 2015.

But the excitement wasn’t over for Adele. She again made headlines at the awards when it was announced that her album had been awarded Album of the Year. During her speech, she said she simply could not accept that accolade because, in her opinion, Beyoncé was a more deserving winner. From the stage, Adele spoke to Beyoncé.

“All us artists here, we f***ing adore you. You are our light, and the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering, and you make them stand up for themselves. I love you, and I always will.”

Proving her point, Adele broke her Grammy in half so she and Beyoncé could each share the award. The Huffington Post also reported that Adele received Record of the Year and Song of the Year for her single “Hello.”

In 2013, Adele won Album of the Year for 21, while this was Beyoncé’s third nomination in this category. Besides giving a beautiful performance during the ceremony, Beyoncé received more nominations than any other artist – nine to be exact. Other big winners on the night included Drake and Chance the Rapper.

[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]

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