Grammys slack in diversity due to selection process

The debatable results of the 65th Grammy Awards have triggered conversations about how the winners are chosen. Social media has been flooded with concerns and opinions on the winners, nominees and the Recording Academy at large. Instead of the public voting for their favorite artists, a committee made up of specialists from within the music industry hold all the power. 

The voting process has several stages: submission, screening and nominating. The fourth step is when final nominations are determined by committees of the voting members of the Academy’s Chapter cities. Then the nominees are announced and the voting process begins. The last category is the results. Winners receive a Grammy Award, and all nominees receive a Nominee Medallion and Certificate.

The issue in the Grammy winner process is that the public is not who decides which artist is going to win, so this can also be a reason for the lack of diversity within this event.

During the premiere of this big music event, nominees are announced as winners of categories such as Album of the Year. Unfortunately, the Grammy Awards tend to have inclusivity issues, although in my opinion recent years have been better than previous ones.

One example of Grammy inclusion was clear during the 2022 Grammys, where there were queer artists, Spanish language singers and K-Pop groups. Something that called the public attention was when John Legend performed with Ukrainians in tribute to the country that was under attack by Russia. 

Another important fact about the 2022 Grammy Awards is that during the Red Carpet, interviews were translated to sign language to add another group of the world’s population to the list of inclusion.

However, the Grammys is not always inclusive. In 2021 The Guardian wrote about the lack of global diversity, which states “nearly two-thirds of the nominations have come from just six countries (the US, UK, Brazil, Mali, South Africa, India) and only 12 nations have ever had an artist win.” It also adds that we see the same artists nominated over and over again each year. It is a shame that in the 21st century, where we have lots of diversity around the world, we still have these kinds of issues within the industry.

“Harry’s House” is Styles’ third studio album. Photo courtesy of Lily Redman, Wikipedia.

During this year’s Grammys, the Album of the Year went to “Harry’s House” by 29-year-old British pop singer Harry Styles, who was up against artists like Beyoncé and Bad Bunny. His win — and the loss of the other diverse nominees — made many people upset with his acceptance speech. He said, “This is really, really kind. I’m so, so grateful… I’m just so — This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.”

In my opinion, he meant to say that young artists like him often do not win a Grammy nomination. Usually older artists who have spent more time in the industry win these nominations. If you think about it, he won a Grammy Award, and instead of saying something more meaningful to him, he talks about the representation within the award. However, it is important to remember he is still a white man.

The music industry is relevant to discussions of racial discrimination and gender discrimination. A Billboard article on a study analyzing gender issues within the industry points out that in the 2021 charts, “76.7% of the artists were men and only 23.3% were women. Across the ten years of study, 78.2% were men and 21.8% were women.”

This leads me to think that the music industry is not giving credit enough to women. These numbers are shocking and disappointing. It is a shame that in a world full of women involved with music, they are represented in such a small number. The music industry should definitely consider women as equal as the men.

Featured photo courtesy of The Recording Academy, Wikipedia