The 65th annual Grammy Awards ceremony was definitely one to remember. We were graced with many performances. Bad Bunny took us straight to the islands and Lizzo took us to church. We were able to see many historic firsts as well. Viola Davis joined the very exclusive group of EGOT winners and Tems became the first Nigerian woman to win a Grammy. We were also able to see the iconic Beyoncé break a new record: she is now the most decorated artist in Grammy history.
The singer now has 32 Grammy awards after earning four from this year’s proceedings. Two of her awards were given out during the non-televised Premiere ceremony earlier in the afternoon. During the prime-time telecast, she won her third for the night in the Best R&B Song category for “Cuff It.” The award that gave her the this new title was the win for best dance/electronic album for “Renaissance.” Although she was not in the building for her first two wins, she was able to accept the history-making win.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional and I’m trying to just receive this night,” she said, after breaking the record. “I want to thank God for protecting me. … I’d like to thank my uncle Johnny, who’s not here, but he’s here in spirit.” She also gave thanks to the community that she got her inspiration from. “I’d like to thank the queer community for your love and for inventing this genre.”
Beyoncé led the 2023 nominations with nine nods. This feat put her in a tie for all-time Grammy nominations with her husband, Jay-Z. They each have 88 nominations each. Although the “Renaissance” artist is decorated in Grammy wins, she continuously is snubbed in the Album of the Year category.
Beyoncé’s Album of the Year History
Beyoncé has never won Album of the Year despite being nominated four times for for “I Am…Sasha Fierce”, “Beyoncé”, “Lemonade”, “Renaissance”. This year, Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” went up against albums from Bad Bunny, Adele, Mary J Blige, Harry Styles, ABBA, Coldplay, Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar, and Brandi Carlile. Harry Styles took home the Grammy for “Harry’s House,” subsequently, many people were not happy about it.
Almost every time an artist won in the category against Beyoncé they each were in complete shock. They did not even consider the possibility that they would win in a top category against THE Beyoncé. Even when Adele won for her album “25” in 2017, she made it very clear that although she was grateful for the award, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” should’ve won.
Her husband, Jay-Z, even spoke to Tidal before the show to explain why “Renaissance” deserved to win AOTY. “Look what it’s done to the culture. Look how the energy of the world moved,” the New York native said. “They play her whole album in the club. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. The whole entire joint – like, everything.”
What’s Going On At The Grammys
This fourth loss has many bringing up the topic of racism at the Grammys. There have been many attempted strides to be more inclusive at the ceremony and this year’s could possibly be the first time we as an audience saw those efforts. As mentioned earlier, Tems’ win was a first. Kim Petras became the first transgender person to win a Grammy along with Bad Bunny’s performance and the Hip-Hop 50th anniversary, all were steps in the right direction, but is it enough?
“Renaissance” was an album that represented many cultures that often fly under the radar. The “Cuff It” singer not only spoke to the queer community. She empowers women to break free from the restrictions put on them from their upbringing in church in “Church Girl.” She tapped into NOLA bounce and mashed it up with OG house music in “Break My Soul”. Her entire ode to the underground ballroom scene deserves recognition on its own. It was an empowering album. Not to say that Harry Styles didn’t have a good album, but did he really deserve the title of AOTY when such an inclusive album was also nominated? It about time to start looking deeper into the Grammy voters and their agendas.
Who Is Voting?
According to the official Grammys website, voters are those in the music industry. “Recording Academy Voting Members are professionals with creative or technical credits on at least six commercially released tracks (or their equivalent). These may include vocalists, conductors, songwriters, composers, engineers, producers, instrumentalists, arrangers, art directors, album notes writers, narrators, and music video artists and technicians.”
The voters are people Beyoncé are either in competition with or people who may not want to see her win. Even in Adele’s post-win interview in 2017, she mentioned that she even voted for Beyoncé, not herself. Is this even an issue of the Recording Academy directly anymore?
This is more of an issue within the industry. Lizzo said is best in her acceptance speech for Record of the Year “[Beyoncé is] the artist of our lives.” It is time for the industry to acknowledge and properly recognize her for it.