Beyoncé set a record for the most Grammy Awards last Sunday, but racists everywhere were upset that she was “shut out” of major categories like album of the year. It’s ironic that an angry rantfest is called a National Public Radio show Pop Culture Happy Hour. On Monday they were mad that “too white” artists kept bashing him.
It’s a little difficult to claim someone is “good” in judging art, whether it’s movies or music or books. But it can also make it easier to claim that whoever loses is being discriminated against. It’s a vote, so it can be a popularity contest. NPR Culture Desk Correspondent
STEPHEN THOMPSON, HOST: We should very briefly discuss Beyoncé’s history, specifically on album of the year. Her self-titled record, which may be my favorite Beyoncé record, lost to Beck morning episode his album LemonadeWhich — widely considered her masterpiece, lost out to Adele 25. And now the renaissance, which, as you say, is just such a monumental piece of this whole piece and craft that honors so many decades of black dance music, that record could be lost to Harry Styles — and look, I love Harry Styles. None of this is a knock on Harry Styles. but His history of losing to very safe, very mainstream, very white artists in these major categories really stands out. It just cannot be ignored.
Kiana Fitzgerald: Yes. I mean, honestly, it’s something that’s been observed over and over again. You know, we see it happen year after year, album after album. And, you know, at some point, it gets a little boring, you know, it’s like…
ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS: Very annoying.
Kiana Fitzgerald: Yes. Thank you.
If someone on conservative radio is upset that white people keep losing to “too black” people, you know how that will be received. But the role is reversed, and it is “racial justice” journalism. And what’s with somehow suggesting that Beyoncé isn’t “too mainstream”? It continued to show how black music in general still gets no respect. seriously
Fitzgerald: You know, it’s like, what does he have to do? You know, he puts his personal life on the line. He involved, as such, communities that were not traditionally involved in these processes. Not only is he doing it, but he’s doing it at a very high level. And at what stage is that recognized? You know, it’s like – It’s just a reflection of the history of the industry, honestly.
TSIOULCAS: Sure. I mean, and obviously, The exclusion of important black music is fundamental – I think we can’t talk about it, and we were – also, often casting female artists, especially – you know, It’s okay for them to be good singers and performers, usually – not often recognized as songwriters, as producers. The number of female engineers in this business is still, I think, still, as of this year, still under four percent. As such, there are all sorts of ways in which great female talent, including Beyoncé, is being overlooked. It’s a terrible situation, and it remains so every time the Grammy organization says no, no, no, we’re on it.
The only entertaining irony in this is that NPR has its own problems with minority journalists feeling “cast aside” inside NPR. Because it’s fairly easy to accuse companies of systemic racism. Who would feel more guilty than a bunch of leftists?