Did you watch the Grammy’s on Sunday night? I didn’t. But the aftermath of the awards show did catch my attention. There were persons who were perturbed that their fave, Beyoncé, once again was denied the Album of the Year Award for her offering entitled “Lemonade.” Even Adele, who won the award for her 2015 album “25”, seemed to protest receiving the award by lauding Beyoncé’s work over her own in her acceptance speech and breaking the award in half.
On Twitter, I recall seeing a tweet that said something like this, “Beyoncé being snubbed is evidence that a Black woman has to work twice as hard for half as what a white woman has.” Is that 140 characters? Anyway, there were many tweets that expressed such sentiments and it brought feelings of déjà vu as I believed that we traveled this road in the not so distant past. In 2015, when Beck was awarded with the Album of the Year Award for “Morning Phase” there was much unrest online. Beck’s Wikipedia page was altered to include him being an award thief and Kanye West ranted about Black people not being appreciated for their art. Or what about the famous #oscarssowhite, which was a response to Black actors being omitted from being nominated for the best actor in lead and supporting roles for the second year in a row?
Do you remember Jada Pinkett- Smith saying that begging removes dignity? Although some may doubt Pinkett-Smith’s genuineness as it seemed that her call for the boycott could have been triggered solely by her husband not being nominated… She made a good point. Begging for something does remove dignity and at the end of the day an award tends to be different from a reward. You work hard for something, you may get promoted, a raise in pay and respect from your peers. But an award is something that whoever the body giving the “honor” has the absolute right to give to whomever it sees as fit or not to give that award at all. I understand that challenging the status quo has caused us as Black people to overcome many obstacles set against us and gain basic human rights that we deserve. But the “right” to an award is not something that I see as falling under that category. It seems as if we have not grown weary of becoming black and blue every time that we run to be acknowledged by a predominantly white audience and are pushed back with disdain in rejection. If Beyoncé was to win the Album of the Year Award for whatever her next album will be, will you be able to sleep better at night? Have you ever done the absolute most to get into something deemed as exclusive and when you get it, you’re like, “This is it? This is what I was killing myself about?”
And then, there are some people, Black people, who genuinely do not believe that Beyoncé deserved Album of the Year Award. I saw tweets and retweets from Black people that said they would put on an Adele album before a Beyoncé album. Does that mean that they are haters or self-hating? Although that in the world of social media policing it can seem as if we should suffer from the spiral of silence that shames us into pretending to have opinions we truly don’t have- there are some who are bold enough to say that they don’t think Beyoncé is all that. So maybe the members of The Recording Academy genuinely do not think she is deserving of the Album of the Year Award and those opinions maybe do not necessarily fall on a standard set by race. I’m just saying.
Now, there is Adele who broke her award which has been interpreted as her extending a half to Beyoncé because she felt that Beyoncé was the rightful winner… But why was Adele at the Grammy’s? Was it not to be awarded by the actual academy? I do believe that Adele had the best of intentions but in reality, the reason why people- Adele included esteem the Grammy’s is because they find it to be an incredible honor to be recognized for their work in the industry by the academy which consists of a group of people who may not necessarily share popular opinion.
So despite the outrage and probably as evidenced by the outrage… people still want that Grammy. And artistes and fans alike find it to be a great distinction. The reasons for esteeming the Grammy’s while gazing condescendingly at the BET Awards however is to determined.