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What Does it Take to Win? Nominees or Not

By Diana Morose

“A lot of you will go home feeling as though you’ve been robbed… some of you will be robbed… some of you shouldn’t even be nominated,” said Jay-Z at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

On Feb. 4, during his acceptance speech as he received the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at this year’s GRAMMYs, Jay-Z made waves as he made reference to Beyonce and her lack of wins for the Album of the Year category.

Have you ever questioned what the criteria is to win an award? When it comes to music, is it based on the number of sales or streams, popularity, originality? Or is it based on personal bias and likeability of a person.

A major aspect of Jay-Z’s speech in actuality has to do with black artists being cast aside in a way that may be reminiscent of the Oscar’s controversy in due part to the fact that black artists are not given the same appreciation as white artists.

This can be inferred due to the fact that of the 32 GRAMMY awards that Beyoncé has won only one is from winning in one of the Big Four categories: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Record of the Year.

Jay-Z posed the question of how the person with the most GRAMMYs of all time could not have received an album of the year award.

A black woman hasn’t won album of the year at the Grammys since Lauryn hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1999.

Theresa Baptiste, a senior majoring in athletic training, shared some of her thoughts on the matter.

“I heard about it through the grapevine of TikTok and I don’t think he’s wrong at all. She’s been in the game for a long time. Her music is literally iconic and you’re telling me that in all of her established time in the industry that she hasn’t gotten an award for Album of the Year?” she said.

For Variety last year, GRAMMY voters revealed why they did or didn’t vote for certain artists. Surprisingly, some voters revealed they didn’t vote for Beyoncé because of her popularity, stating she has “already won a lot of Grammys.” “They say that she’s won too many awards but how come that’s not the case for Taylor Swift? I just think that there is a bit of bias when it comes to who wins what,” said Baptiste. “We already know that the system is rigged but I’m glad [Jay-Z] said that to their faces.”

This has also been exacerbated by the fact that certain predominantly black award categories have been relegated to awards that are not televised.

The Weeknd, who also goes by Abel Tesfaye, was not nominated for a single Grammy in 2021 after he released his album “After Hours” despite it having garnered massive success. The song “Blinding Lights” broke the record for the longest charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 of all time, spending 90 weeks on the chart. Outrage sparked and The Weeknd has since boycott the Grammys.

Jay-Z’s speech is just another prominent example of the growing discontentment for the apparent bias in entertainment awards show nominations.

Similarly, a couple years back, the Oscars were under fire for their lack of diverse nominees and viewers showed their discontent with the hashtag “OscarsSoWhite.” In 2016, all 20 Oscar nominations in the acting categories went to white performers for the second year in a row. Since then, the categories’ nominees have been more diverse, but the backlash led to some of the Oscars’ new diversity guidelines that films have to Famous Artist Jay Z follow in order to be eligible for the Best Picture category, which have been implemented this year leading up to the 96th Oscars, airing on March 10.

It leaves us to wonder whether people rely on these award shows to provide a basis for the entertainment that they consume.

“To this day it seems to me that it still has weight as a badge of honor for those that are nominated and those that win,” said Brianna Torres, a senior communications major.

Graphic Credit to Alyssa Leal

Torres states that many artists she loves have previously been nominated or won an award, but that does not mean she doesn’t agree with Jay-Z.

“In many ways, I agree with Jay Z’s opinions of the Grammys. The Grammys have shown time and time again how much they use artists to get views for their award show to not even win an award,” she said.

As award show season floats by, it will be interesting to see whether there will be more voices that state their dissatisfaction with award show voting and whether more change will be inspired in the coming years.

Graphic Credit to Alyssa Leal

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