The prestigious Grammy Awards have evolved into a scam
April 1, 2023
Red carpets. Flashing lights. Beautiful dresses and suits. Celebrities everywhere. Every award show features this type of glitz and glamour found everywhere in Hollywood. But, like in many other aspects of Hollywood’s culture, a darker side lies beneath all the shimmer.
The four main award shows, the Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Grammys, all started in the 1900s, with the Grammys being created last in 1959. Since then, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, commonly known by its moniker the Recording Academy, has put on the show every year.
Despite the Recording Academy being a prestigious institution, recently the Grammys have come under fire for its continued racial bias patterns and inadequate voting process. This build-up of public anger has led to the Grammys being called the “Scammys.”
Many musicians, such as Nicki Minaj, Zayn Malik and The Weekend, have been outspoken online about their grievances with the Recording Academy. For example, in 2021 The Weekend was not nominated for any Grammys despite his album “After Hours” being the most popular album on Spotify in 2020 and its overall resounding success. Following his lack of nominations, The Weekend used social media to express his problems with the Recording Academy’s voting process and corruption. Even after winning Grammys, The Weekend has denounced their meaning and importance.
The Grammys also has a history of historically not representing enough artists of color in nominations. Typically, Black artists don’t win some of the most coveted Grammy awards, such as Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year, demonstrating the Grammy’s historical discriminatory practices towards Black artists.
On the other hand, Black artists typically win categories that include some sort of rap theme. While some may view this as adding inclusivity to the Grammys, in reality it just limits the type of Grammy people of color can win and prevents them from being included in other categories they deserve to be recognized in.
After winning the Best Rap Album in 2020, Tyler the Creator expressed his feelings of discontent with the Recording Academy.
“It sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything genre-building, they always put it in a ‘rap’ or ‘urban’ category,” said Tyler the Creator, according to Billboard. “Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment.”
This has caused many artists to withdraw Grammy nominations or boycott attending the Grammys. In 2020, Drake withdrew his nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance to underscore the Grammy’s racist history.
In recent years Grammy viewership has decreased significantly, setting a record low of 9.227 million in 2021. However, the 2021 and 2022 viewership decreases may be able to be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 65th Grammy Awards this year had 30.8% more viewership than in 2022, according to the Los Angeles Times, but this is still the third-lowest viewership on record. At the Grammys most popular viewership was is in the tens of millions, which far supersedes viewership today.