• Sunday, June 16, 2024
businessday logo


Grammy organisers mull separate category for Afrobeats

Grammy organisers mull separate category for Afrobeats

The Recording Academy’s CEO Harvey Mason Jr. on a recent trip to Ghana told reporters that the Recording Academy was in talks with the key players in the Afrobeats music scene to explore the possibility of adding Afrobeats to the award’s genre list.

During the conversation, he mentioned that the Academy was working with “leaders of the Afrobeats community” to promote inclusivity at the Grammys.

“We just had a meeting literally about six to seven days ago, with leaders of the Afrobeats community. We had a listening session where we heard from Afrobeats creators, we talked about the different subgenres, what are the needs, what are the desires, and my goal is to represent all genres of music including Afrobeats at the Grammys,” said Mason.

Despite the fact that the procedure was still in progress, according to Mason, the correct approach would need to be taken to make sure everything went off without a hitch.

Read alslo: Audiomack’s Premier Access feature rewards music lovers, boost revenue

“I don’t decide categories. The categories are decided by proposals by members. Members can say ‘Harvey, I want an Afrobeat category,’ they write a proposal for the category they talked about. So that process has started now. We did a listening session last week for the step towards that path,” said Mason.

Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon, and has taken a spot on the world stage as one of the leading genres in music. The Global Music category has seen the likes of Burna Boy, Angelique Kidjo, and Wizkid pick up wins.

When Mason’s remarks appeared online, there were a variety of responses. While some music fans saw the announcement as a positive step for the continent of Africa, others were more pessimistic about it. Some of the complaints that the Recording Academy has encountered in the past over its lack of diversity and conformance with international African music have come again.

The conversation of Afrobeats getting its own category at the academy awards have been long discussed by fans and analysts alike.

Nigerian photographer Femi Akeusola spoke with BusinessDay after the academy awards saying that Afrobeats needs its own category. He further explained that Afrobeats is distinct from all other global music genres and The criteria for choosing the best album or performance in the category could further reduce the chances of including more Afrobeats artists in categories where they can be well-recognized and honored.

Akeusola cited instances, such as Wizkid losing to Arooj Aftab in the Best Global Music Performance category, to illustrate how the current trend makes it unlikely for up-and-coming Afrobeats artists who have gained international attention to win the prestigious award.