For the first time since 1999, there are no white male solo artists nominated for a best album Grammy and people have definite feelings about that.
This year’s nominees for album of the year are Jay-Z’s “4:44,” “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino, “DAMN” by Kendrick Lamar, “Melodrama” by Lorde and “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars.
In 1999, the nominees for that category included four female artists: “The Globe Sessions” by Sheryl Crow, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill, “Ray of Light” by Madonna, “Come on Over” by Shania Twain and “Version 2.0” by the band Garbage whose lead singer was the woman, Shirley Manson.
The diversity was spread throughout the nominations for the forthcoming 60th Grammy Awards.
The record of the year category was dominated by artists of color and “Despacito” became the first Spanish-language song to be nominated for that category, as well as for song of the year.
But the best album category is a special one given that it sparked controversy last year when Adele’s “25” triumphed over Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”
Even Adele was critical of the choice and addressed it in her acceptance speech.
“I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humbled, and I’m very grateful and gracious, but the artist of my life is Beyoncé,” Adele said. “And this album to me, the Lemonade album, was just so monumental, Beyoncé, so monumental, and so well thought out, and so beautiful and soul-baring, and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see.”
This year’s nominees has people decidedly in their feelings, both positively and negatively.
“Constant headlines like this are literally the reason racism is so bad now,” one person tweeted. “Why is this important AT ALL LOL. There is 0 reasons to point this out…talented PEOPLE were nominated that’s all there is to it.”
Another person tweeted, “White racists are shook that no white men got nominated for AOTY at the Grammys this year. They have the nerve to ask how “4:44” was nominated. How was Beck nominated? How did he win AOTY over Beyoncé? Leave “4:44” alone. It is a masterpiece album. It OR “DAMN” deserve AOTY.”
The Grammys, like other awards shows, has struggled with complaints from fans about diversity.
The switch to online voting this year rather than paper ballots is being hailed as helping to make the nominations more inclusive as it made the vote accessible to more of the 13,000 members who were eligible to do so.
Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow told Billboard he was pleased and called the nominations “a wonderful reflection on our organization and how relevant and in touch and savvy our voting members are.”
The Grammys will air Sunday, January 28, 2018 from Madison Square Garden in New York City.