• Monday, July 15, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Davido, Burna Boy’s Grammy snub raise cultural misrepresentation dust

Davido, Burna Boy’s Grammy snub raise cultural misrepresentation dust

At the 66th Grammy Awards, top Nigerian music stars Davido and Burna Boy had 7 nominations between them, a testament to their contributions to Afrobeats.

None won. This has raised questions as to whether there are other reasons why the globally acclaimed works could not get wins in their categories. To some music experts, placing Afrobeats alongside other global music genres in the same categories was a statement of cultural misinterpretation.

In addition to Davido and Burna Boys nominations, Asake, Olamide, and Ayra Starr were also nominated in the African Music category for the impacts of their songs in the year under review, but after the Sunday night event, no Nigerian left the Crypto Arena with a single Grammy Award.

When Tyla, the 22-year-old new artist from South Africa, was announced as the winner of the Best African Music Performance category for her song ‘Water’ the band played ‘Water’ by Late Fela Kuti, instead of her song as she came out to receive the award.

Femi Akeusola, Nigerian Photographer and Music analyst, after giving kudos to Tyla for winning the category told BusinessDay that other songs on the category she won had more elements of African sounds than ‘Water,’ her winning work.

Speaking on his Instagram Live, Adesope Olajide, a music enthusiast, argued that there should be a re-evaluation of submissions to avoid cultural misunderstandings which leads to controversial conversations about the Grammys.

“It’s time the Grammys let us in on who votes in these categories, and they should let us know the metrics by which they select their winners. If we do not know the metrics, we cannot hold them accountable when next these kinds of misrepresentations happen,” Akeusola opined.

Akeusola noted that since there is a Latin Grammys, there should also be an Afrobeats Grammys with categories like Best Afrobeats Album and Best Afrobeats Performance. Other music enthusiasts added that an Amapiano category should also be added since the genre is different and has a different origin from Afrobeats.

Also, Akeusola, alleged that the Grammys used Afrobeats for marketing to push its viewership numbers higher. “The Grammys did two stories on Davido and one together with his creative director. If they knew he was not going to win, why do all that publicity just to give the award to someone who is less popular and whose music has less impact on the global stage? It is evident they used Afrobeats for marketing,” he added.

According to reports, the 66th Grammys was viewed 16.9 million times. This was a 34 percent increase from last year.

During the awards ceremony, Jay Z, US rap legend, criticised The Grammys for some of the decisions they make on how winners are selected. While accepting the Dr Dre Global Impact Award on Sunday night, the rapper, noted that Beyonce, his wife, has never won the Best Album category despite garnering the most Grammy Awards (32).

He added that the Grammys should get their acts in order.

In 2020, the Grammys changed the World Music award category to Global Music to appear to be more relevant, modern, and inclusive but experts have stated that judging by the previous winners there might be a need for the Recording Academy to review how it categorises non-Western musical practices and cultures.