The Grammys have been happening for over 50 years, and the award is meant to represent extraordinary musical achievement.
The event is always a huge night for Hollywood, and draws huge crowds. However, to me, and many others, the awards show has sort of lost its legitimacy in recent years. The show was Monday night, and again, some of the awards confused music fans, while some of them finally gave artists recognition they deserve.
When I was younger, I was always so awe-struck by The Grammys- I loved seeing all of the beautiful gowns, dapper suits, and the live performances always seemed too good to be true. I also remember tuning in because things always seemed to cause controversy. Basically ever since I can remember, The Grammys were pretty divisive, and the next day at school, everyone was always talking about what happened. As I’ve grown up, and gotten more interested in music, I’ve developed a much more sour taste in my mouth about the awards. Today, I’m obviously nowhere close to being an expert in music, but I do think that The Grammys have snubbed a lot of talented and deserving artists over the years.
One of the well-deserving winners from last night was Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick was nominated for 11 Grammys! Which is only one less than the current record holder for nominations, Michael Jackson. His album, To Pimp A Butterfly, racked up 7 of those nominations, and Kendrick ended up leaving the night with 5 awards– including rap album, rap song, and rap performance. I think this is a really important moment for hip hop artists now, and black musicians in general; to see acknowledgment from an institution that hasn’t always given them recognition. We saw the discussions about “The White Oscars” this year, where many celebrities (such as Will Smith and Michael Moore) openly voiced their opinions about unequal nominations. It is clear that this type of debate is very relevant today: music-wise, film-wise, and in our society in general. These inequalities are things often best left to be discussed by those directly affected by them, but things like The Grammys brings them into the mainstream, and it deserves all of our attention.
My biggest problem with The Grammys is that I don’t see it as representing music that is truly influential, popular, or otherwise important. At this point, The Grammys are almost run like a business- it’s also a national broadcast and companies want as many people as possible to tune in. This kind of explains why “Top 40” or “mainstream” musicians are usually nominated and selected to perform at the show. They may not be the “best” music of the year (when considering all of the music that gets put out), but they are the most universally appealing acts. They’re suitable for an audience of everyone. This is frustrating for people who support musicians that try to spread messages, create unique and innovative music, and seem to enjoy the art. I, for one, am tired of seeing people like Taylor Swift win really big awards year after year, even when there are other people nominated who should get their recognition. Another category that’s always super weird is Best New Artist. A few years ago, Fun. won this award- even though the band has been together for years. This year, Meghan Trainor won. This category especially seems to herald artists that have entered the mainstream music scene in a year, not always an artist who appears and makes a splash. Every year there definitely are cool new artists who make something awesome- and usually get snubbed by another nominee.
I’m not sure how The Grammys can change to interest people like me more, and I’m not sure if they even care that people like me aren’t into the show. They aren’t all bad; it’s entertaining, they do tributes to musicians who passed away, and everyone’s always dressed their best. But, I think that it’s becoming clear that there’s more and more people who are also annoyed by The Grammys.