Jay-Z's speech: Do the Grammys have a Beyoncé problem?

Jay-Z's speech: Do the Grammys have a Beyoncé problem?

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 06/02/2024
Photo: Glamour UK

As her husband Jay-Z referenced in his speech, despite winning 32 Grammys, Beyoncé has never won the coveted prize for album of the year.

At yesterday's Grammy Awards, Jay-Z highlighted a surprising slight hidden in the Recording Academy's recent voting record.

Despite winning 32 Grammys across her remarkable career – more than any other artist – Beyoncé has never taken home the most prestigious prize of all: for album of the year.

Jay-Z said even by your own metrics, that doesn't work. He said think about that, the most Grammys, never won album of the year, that doesn't work.

When the camera panned to Beyoncé, she did not respond visibly to her husband's comments, but there were a few cheers of support from the audience at LA's Crypto.com Arena.

This enduring snub becomes even more egregious when you factor in that Beyoncé has been nominated for album of the year on five separate occasions: first in 2010 for I Am... Sasha Fierce, then a year later as a featured artist on Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster.

Each of Beyoncé's next three nominations in this category – for the agenda-setting feminist missive Beyoncé in 2015, the genre-melding concept album Lemonade in 2017 and the heady dance opus Renaissance in 2023 – could have been converted into deserving wins.

Lemonade in particular looked like a sure-fire album of the year winner. It explored the emotional impact of Jay-Z's rumoured infidelity through the prism of generational pain and racial inequality, making it culturally pertinent as well as musically accomplished.

Across 12 tracks, Beyoncé effortlessly blended genres including reggae, rock, hip-hop, soul, funk, country and electronica.

She also made a stunning accompanying visual album.

When Adele won instead that year for her blockbuster third album 25, the British singer said in her acceptance speech: "I can't possibly accept this award. And I'm very humbled and I'm very grateful and gracious. But my artist of my life is Beyoncé. And this album to me, the Lemonade album, is just so monumental."

As Jay-Z pointed out, something about Beyoncé never winning album of the year just doesn't add up.

Though it is never helpful (or fair) to compare female artists too closely, it is inescapable that Jay-Z’s comments came on the same night that Taylor Swift won album of the year for the fourth time.

Her relatively low-key 10th studio album, Midnights, overrode strong competition from SZA, Olivia Rodrigo and Lana Del Rey, among others.

Since 2000, several other female artists have won album of the year – Norah Jones, Dixie Chicks (now called The Chicks), Alison Krauss (jointly with Robert Plant), Kacey Musgraves, Billie Eilish and Adele (twice). But, as @MJFINESSELOVER noted in her viral tweet, the last time a black woman triumphed in this category came in 1999, when Lauryn Hill won with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Source : bbc

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