The Grammys consider adding an Afrobeats category
Afrobeats – the pulsating, fusion sound emanating from West Africa and the diaspora – has been on the rise globally for the better part of a decade. In recent years, the genre has taken hold in Western pop culture, and the Grammys are taking notice.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. recently said the Grammys are considering adding an award category for Afrobeats. Speaking to reporters in Ghana over the weekend, Mason said he was meeting with Shelley’s players to explore the possibility.
“We invited producers, songwriters, artists, executives and we had a virtual listening session where we heard from the creators of Afrobeats,” he said. News conference on September 24. “[We] Just talked about, ‘What are the different sub-genres? What are the requirements? What are desires?’
However, making such a change will take some time. Throughout the year, the Recording Academy—the group of music industry professionals who present the Grammy Awards— Accepts the proposal For new categories from its members. Those proposals are then reviewed by a committee and Voted on By the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.
For example, at an April 2021 meeting, the Recording Academy approved the addition of two new categories in the global and Latin music fields, 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 Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, will apply at the 2023 Grammys.
“My goal is to make sure that we represent all genres of music at the Grammys, including Afrobeats. But it has to be done the right way,” Mason said during the news conference. The weekly listening session was very important, very valuable and a step towards that path.”
Afrobeats artists have joined forces with Beyoncé, Drake, Ed Sheeran and other stars to break into mainstream pop. But they have also achieved mainstream success on their own. Burna Boy, Wizkid and Thames each have Grammy nominations (though they’ve generally been left out in the global music field), while Burna Boy picked up a win in 2021 for his album “Two Times as Tall”. CKay’s “Love Nwantiti” dominated TikTok last year, before finally Billboard charts.
The UK’s Official Charts Company launched an Afrobeats Singles Chart in 2020, while Billboard released a US-based Afrobeats chart This year, further fueling the genre’s growth beyond Africa and the diaspora.