BTS, photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment, all rights reserved https://tinyurl.com/4mh5surm

This year’s 63rd annual Grammys, aired March 14, sparked a great deal of controversy as to how the Recording Academy treats artists of color.

This year, fans were angered by the Grammys’ failure to recognize artists of color. While the Grammys have been doing this for years, many started to notice during this year’s award show. When the schedule for the award show was released, many were startled to hear that some award categories would be on an unaired pre-show event. Categories such as Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best R&B and Best Rap.

The Grammys, or how some have nicknamed, the “Scammys,” for having constantly invalidating the hard work of artists of color during the award shows. Because the show has had a predominantly white influence for decades, in 2018, the Recording Academy formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to address this problem. Even with the Task Force, the Grammy still find ways to exclude people of color. 

This year, many people were eager to tune into the award show because a famous Korean group, BTS, was nominated for their very first Grammy under the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and they were to perform their song “Dynamite.” Many believe the Grammys used the group’s large worldwide fanbase to receive views for the show by constantly advertising their participation. It came to many as a shock when they heard that not only was the award moved to a pre-show, but that they did not win despite how well their song did on a worldwide level. BTS has earned many achievements in 2020 such as:

  • #1 Best Selling Artist of the Year
  • #1 on the IFPI Top 10 Global Recording Artists of 2020
  • First Korean act to be nominated for a Grammy
  • Time Magazine named BTS the 2020 Entertainer of the Year
  • “Map of the Soul: 7” and “BE” (Deluxe Edition) ranked #1 and #2, respectively, on IFPI’s Global Album Sales Chart of 2020
  • “Life Goes On” was the first primarily Korean-sung song to hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100
  • “Dynamite” was on the Billboard Hot 100 for thirteen consecutive weeks

The Weeknd, another artist of color who was neglected by the Grammys, spoke up about the issue and has decided to boycott the award show. This year the Grammys failed to recognize The Weeknd’s extremely hard work this year which included his Superbowl LV Halftime show, and his song “Blinding Lights” which has been critically acclaimed and hitting crazy numbers on chart records. The Weeknd is not only boycotting the awards for not nominating him this year, but he is also following many other artists of color such as, Drake, Kanye West and Frank Ocean, who have all spoken up about how the Grammys are failing to recognize artists of color. The artist continued on Twitter to speak up about the Grammys,

“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…,” The Weeknd tweeted.

Music is what unites humanity, it is a universal sound that goes beyond language barriers. If the Grammys continue to leave hardworking artists from all over the world from the awards, the show that once made people eager to tune in will no longer have many viewers to care about it.