The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category
Afrobeats – the pulsating fusion sound that comes from West Africa and the Diaspora – has been on the rise around the world for the better part of a decade. In recent years, the genre has gained a foothold in Western pop culture, and the Grammys have taken notice.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. recently said the Grammys are considering adding an award category for Afrobeats. Speaking at the Global Citizen Festival in Ghana over the weekend, Mason told reporters he had met with gender actors to explore the possibility.
“We called in producers, songwriters, artists, executives and we had a virtual listening session where we heard from the creators of Afrobeats,” he said during a September 24 press conference. « [We] I just talked about, ‘What are the different subgenres? What are the needs ? What are the desires?’”
However, it would probably take some time for such a change to be made. Throughout the year, the Recording Academy – the group of music industry professionals who present the Grammy Awards – accepts proposals for new categories from its members. These proposals are then reviewed by a committee and voted on by the Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees.
For example, at an April 2021 meeting, the Recording Academy approved the addition of two new categories in the areas of Global and Latin Music, but the change did not take effect at the 2022 Grammys. This year , the Recording Academy announced five additional categories, including Songwriter of the Year and Best Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, which will take effect at the 2023 Grammys.
“My goal is to make sure we represent all genres of music, including Afrobeats, at the Grammys. But it has to be done right,” Mason said at the press conference. last week’s listening has been very important, very valuable and a step in that direction. »
Afrobeats artists have transitioned into mainstream pop through collaborations with Beyoncé, Drake, Ed Sheeran and other stars. But they also achieved mainstream success on their own. Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Tems each landed Grammy nominations (though they’ve generally been relegated to the world music realm), while Burna Boy picked up a 2021 win for his album « Twice as Tall. » . CKay’s « Love Nwantiti » topped on TikTok last year before finally appearing on the Billboard charts.
UK-based Official Charts Company launched an Afrobeats singles chart in 2020, while Billboard launched a US-based Afrobeats chart this year, nodding to the genre’s growth outside of Africa and of the diaspora.