Another disappointing “Grammys” has just disgraced television sets across the United States, however, most would disagree with this sentiment. The “Grammys” are wrongfully held by so many people as a representation of the best artistry that music has to offer, but in our troubling times and political climate the awards show has seemed to persist in its sheer avoidance of the issues possibly to retain the attention of a wider audience, but even in their empty pursuit of ignorance the award ceremony has received some of its lowest ratings in history.
The talent who performs at the show is usually not the problem, it’s the awards being given out to artists who don’t comment on the times and contradict the message of social change that was prevalent throughout the show. Through the night performances by artist such as Kesha, Kendrick Lamar, Logic, and Pink all presented messages involving social justice causes; However, the powerful messages still carry on weight if the “Grammys” continue to perpetuate a culture stacked against minority groups. On the red carpet many celebrities walked with symbolic nods to movements they were in support of (a white rose was wearing for those in support of the #MeToo movement) and one standout look that graced the carpet was Lorde’s dress that had a sewn in message from feminist writer, Jenny Holzer. Lorde wore the dress in protest of her being the only female nominee for album of the year and not being offered a solo performance.
Further, on the issue of album of the year (which was a major snub for Jay Z’s album 4:44) which went to Bruno Mars who was deserving of an award, but certainly not album of the year. Most if not all the other albums nominated for the prestigious category of album of the year were more conscious of the state of the world and offered true commentary on the wide scope of issues that are abuzz this year and last, but the judges for the “Grammys” went the safe route of ignorance.
Bruno Mar’s music is catchy and nostalgic but holds no candle to the lyrical genius displayed on 4:44 or DAMN. Perhaps the true reason that 24K Magic took home the Grammy for album of the year is that it perpetuates themes that are ignorant of any political cause, which isn’t inherently destructive, but considering the state of the world, it’s regressive. The absence of awards going to artists who speak about the causes fighting for positive change in the world ultimately makes the grand gestures made for such causes at the awards show shallow, and it’s not necessarily all the talented artist at the show. Most of the blame falls on the “Grammys.” Specifically, the “Grammys” president states destructive rhetoric, he told women to “step up.” However, P!nk rebuked his statement because it is the root of the issue coming to the surface in this one instance. The “Grammys” don’t truly care for social change.
Of course, a Grammy is nothing but metal with a plaque, but that doesn’t take away from its power to fool the masses into believing that their rule over the judging of music is supreme. This power that the “Grammys” posses is one that should be wielded carefully especially if the artist who they award are outspoken on social justice causes. There needs to be a choice made in what is praised because the show's performances contradicting its awards just makes all the grand statements for change seem empty and performative.