Can Beyoncé Shake The Racism of the Grammy Awards?

Can Beyoncé Shake The Racism of the Grammy Awards?

The Recording Academy has a chance to depart from their white washed ways in 2017.

2016 is drawing to close, which means not only are half-hearted New Years resolutions upon us but so is Awards Season. The Grammy Awards, which just released the list of nominees for their 59th awards season, are undeniably the largest form of recognition in the music industry. Unfortunately for Music's Biggest Night, many members of the music community do not respect the institution because of it's white washed tendencies.

If you haven't so much as glanced through the nominations ever in the history of the awards show, you may have missed this unwritten rule of the Grammy Awards that black artists are generally only nominated for the R& ,,B and Rap music categories, while the other 38 categories are populated with white artists. A few artists, such as Beyoncé, are the exception to this rule, but many incredible artists and records are overlooked for Album of the Year or Best Pop Vocal Performance, while mediocre white musicians are continuously praised for their work.

Countless times throughout the awards' history, a talented artist who was a person of color has won the nomination but lost the gold statue in the shadow of a white artist. Take for example 2016's upset for Song of the Year when Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" won over Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" - a racially and politically charged song that is outstanding in its production and performance was glossed over for your run-of-the-mill uninspired singer-songwriter pop love song. "Thinking Out Loud" has a very sparse and unimagined arrangement, cheesy lyrics, and has very simple production techniques used on it. "Alright", converse,h as an unconventional arrangement that utilizes brass instruments and vocal pads to drive the song forward. Additionally, Kendrick is speaking out about the oppression of black citizens by police officers. Ed Sheeran most likely won because of the color of his skin; there is no denying in this scenario that Kendrick had written the superior song.

In that same season, Best Music Video nominations included A$AP Rocky for "L$D", Kendrick Lamar for "Alright", and Pharrell Williams for "Freedom". Shockingly, the award was given to the white pop star on the list, Taylor Swift for "Bad Blood". Have you seen the video? Let's watch it real quick:

Now, let's look at the video for "Alright":

Why is this even a discussion? The video for "Bad Blood" is Taylor showing off her roster of A-list friends - exhibiting white feminism at its finest - and the concept itself is safe, boring, and poorly pieced together. Kendrick's video is thought provoking, artful, and serves as a piece of social commentary. Racism in America won yet again, failing to recognize the incredible accomplishments of a musical genius in favor of a walking Barbie doll.

The 59th Grammy Awards has the opportunity to take a stand against the white patriarchal institution and support the diversity that truly comprises the recording industry. Beyoncé is up for nine award nominations, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. The body of work being recognized is the visual album Lemonade, which is arguably her strongest work to date, and an album largely reflecting themes many pop songs do not address in regards to marriage troubles, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and feminist ideals. Nominated against her in many of these categories is Adele, a white English artist who sings mostly sad love songs. Can you see where I'm going with this?

Additionally, it's interesting to see that the Grammy Awards deemed it appropriate to nominate Beyoncé and Jack White for "Don't Hurt Yourself" for Best Rock Performance, but "Daddy Lessons", also from Lemonade, was snubbed for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. "Daddy Lessons" got a nod from the Country Music Association Awards earlier this year, While not nominated, Beyoncé was invited to perform the song during the awards show with Dixie Chicks (which received an uproar in social media backlash because the predominantly white audience did not appreciate Beyonce's association with the Black Lives Matter movement).

There's no argument here, it's a country song - but because the recording artist in question is not a traditional (erm, white) artist who only sings about guns and getting drunk and their pickup truck, no one wants to acknowledge the piece for what it is. Country singer Dierks Bentley was quoted in Billboard vaguely supporting the piece:

“There is just something intangible about it that it feels like a country song, It’s not just choruses that are catchy and verses that could be intermixed anywhere as some pop songs are. It’s a real story that she tells about what’s going on in her life growing up.”

However, this song's defining qualities are not intangible. Everything about the chord progression, arrangement, content, and performance of "Daddy Lessons" make this track a country song. Critics and audiences should be celebrating the crossover work, but instea, they're pushing it under the rug because it was released by a black pop star.

Beyoncé's potential awards sweep would speak volumes to the worth of women of color in this industry, and frankly the country at large. If she loses to Adele or Justin Bieber, who is also nominated against her in a handful of these categories, the Recording Academy will be showing us that they have not heard anything the community has been saying for years.

The Recording Academy needs to stop rewarding mediocre white men for their mediocre work, stop telling black musicians that they can't be considered for awards outside of the two categories they've been boxed into, and stop perpetuating the white supremacy that is ruling the industry.

All entertainment awards going into early 2017 are going to be important, because not only have they fallen under criticism in recent years for the lack of diversity, but additionally because the country has fallen under the authority of a Fascist White Supremacist. If the Grammy Awards uphold the racist history they've built their foundation on, it will only further normalize and reinforce the terrifying political climate we are barreling into head first.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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