The Grammy Awards aren’t racist. You are.

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Macklemore winning “Best Rap Album” over Kendrick Lamar’s (superior) good kid m.A.A.d. city at last night’s 2014 Grammy Awards has sparked a lot of discussion about the state of Rap and Hip Hop culture.

First of all, let’s not get carried away with the Grammy’s contribution and importance to Hip Hop music.

It’s a good sign that people are paying attention to this category. It’s proof to me that Rap and Hip Hop music are both making a rebound from the boring output of the mid to late 2000s. But, we need to remember that this is the Grammy’s. Every voting member of the Grammy Association votes on every category. Meaning, people that have no clue what is happening in Rap music are voting for best album, song and performance.

Macklemore had a majorly outstanding year that was even more outstanding than Kendrick’s outstanding year and his name is going to resonate with more people, regardless of the color of their skin.

Bringing me to my second point: Nothing about the Grammy Awards is racist.

The Grammy’s are an over-produced tribute to the most popular, best-selling names in the music industry. Beyond that, they are harmless (and fairly meaningless).

The Grammy’s have more to do with mass-appeal than anything else. At the end of the day the Grammy Awards need to put a shiny foot forward for the entire industry, and that means big names, bombast and fire behind every performance. I can’t remember a time during my 29 years on this planet that the Grammy Awards represented the most creative, original or thoughtful achievements in music.  It doesn’t matter who your favorite musician is; if an artist doesn’t make money and capture attention with astounding performances, they don’t get a Grammy Award. Period.

So, when Macklemore wins “Best Rap Album” over four African American artists, it’s not because the Grammy’s are racist. It’s because the masses who listen to and pay for music are less threatened by Thrift Shop than they are Blood on the Leaves or everything on Kendrick’s album (which told the coming of age story of a young man growing up in Compton, CA).

Simply put: If America gave equal attention to all genre’s of music and performers of all skin colors, the Grammy Awards would too. It’s a ceremony that should be thought of more as a mirror for what’s happening in our society than an indicator of what’s to come.

There’s nothing racist about the Grammy Awards. Unfortunately I can’t say the same thing for the hundreds of millions of American music listeners it caters to.

Posted by Jeff

 

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