Are The Grammys Finally In Touch?



The Grammys don’t always get everything right as was extremely evident last year with waves of criticisms surrounding the show’s lack of gender diversity and lack of representation of hip-hop in certain categories. These issues have appeared to change this year, as the show has only now begun to compensate for the past year’s issues.

One of the biggest wins of the Grammys was Childish Gambino’s win of “This is America,” which was awarded both Best Song and Best Record, and is the first rap song to win these awards. In the past, the winners for these categories haven’t always been on the same level as the cultural consensus that the rest of the country has agreed to, with a major complaint being that hugely popular genres like rap are underrepresented. This is one of the times, though, that it seems as if the awards understood the cultural impacts that a song, as well as a music video, had on music in the past year.

Max Slade, a first-year communication and media major, spoke to the ability that Childish Gambino has and how the song deserved to win the award it was given.

“It’s clever because it’s topical and he uses adlibs from 21 Savage and Migos to make it a song with very wide appeal. It’s also tied in with the video he put out with it,” Slade said.

This notable win is important, because while rap and hip hop have emerged as some of the most popular types of music over the past two decades, the genre is often not represented outside of its category. Due to this, there has been a bit of mistrust between performers and the awards, as rappers think that they are not always fairly considered. This shifted with Childish Gambino winning these awards, changing the landscape and opening up the path for more artists of these genres to win similar awards.

Many of the complaints in the past about the Grammys have been regarding the focal point of the awards. Criticism surrounds the notion that they are focused more on giving awards to big names instead of recognizing more artistic and smaller artists. This year also saw the album “Golden Hour” win an award for Best Album, even though its creator Kacey Musgraves has more of a cult following and is not wildly popular in mainstream music, but still beloved by critics and fans.

Gender equality is another major issue that seems to have been addressed at the Grammys this year, as in years past the number of women performing and winning awards were very underrepresented. This year, Kacey Musgraves won the award for Best Album alongside 15 other performances of the night that included female artists.

The Grammys were a good year for Seattle musicians, with musicians from the Emerald City winning seven awards in various categories. Brandi Carlile won Best American Roots Performance, as well as Best American Roots Song for her record “The Joke” and for Best Americana Album, “By the Way, I Forgive You.” She also gave a wonderful and strong performance of her song at the end of the show.

The Seattle Symphony also won in two out of the three categories that it was nominated for, including Best Classical Instrument Solo and Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The film “Quincy” was also awarded Best Music Film, created by Quincy Jones who spent time in Seattle early in his life. The Best Rock Performance went to Chris Cornell, a Seattle musician for his performance of his song “When Bad Does Good.”

These achievements have shown that the city of Seattle continues to be a cultural center for music and that the Grammys not only have the ability to change, but might show the start of a trend where different artists are more represented.

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