The 2018 Grammy awards will show the nation that the mainstream music industry may finally be ready to truly embrace artists of color.
With only women and musicians of color competing for album of the year in 2018, the upcoming award show marks the first time in 19 years that none of the category's nominees are white men. The last time this happened was in 1999, when Madonna, Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, and Garbage were the nominees.
On Twitter, users did not ignore the historic announcement, celebrating the artists whose albums moved Americans enough to be nominated for album of the year.
I think it’s sad it took 19 years for this to happen.— Tyler (@Warped_grey) November 28, 2017
On USA Today, Maeve McDermott wrote that this move is more of a course correction “for an institution badly in need of one,” indicating that, for the first time in many years, the Grammys might end up being one of the few awards shows that have truly celebrated diversity.
Despite this year’s change in tune, the Grammy awards have long been criticized for passing over artists of color for their white counterparts.
In 2016, the award show snubbed Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” giving Taylor Swift’s “1989” the album of the year award. Then in 2017, something similar happened when Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” lost to Adele’s “25.”
Just as many believed the Grammys were becoming irrelevant, they are beginning to show that they are listening to the public.
While diversifying the nominations is critical, it is yet to be seen how many artists of color actually take home trophies.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch