As the Afrobeats genre continues to grow, becoming a popular sensation in many parts of the world. The Grammys are now considering adding it as part of a category due to its growing influence in Western pop culture.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. recently said that the Grammys were considering adding an award category for Afrobeats while speaking at the Global Citizen Festival in Ghana over the weekend. Mason told reporters he had been meeting with players in the genre to explore the possibility.
“We called in producers, songwriters, artists, executives and we had a virtual listening session where we heard from Afrobeats creators,” he said at a September 24 news conference. “[We] just talked about, ‘What are the different subgenres? What are the needs? What are the desires?’”
Though this is good news, it has surely taken so long for it to happen which is no surprise since the Grammys have for a very long time been centred around Western content compared to what Africa has had to offer in the music industry for so many years now.
It will definitely take a while for such a change to happen since throughout the year, the Recording Academy – the group of music industry professionals that presents the Grammy Awards – accepts proposals for new categories from its members. Those proposals are then reviewed by a committee and voted on by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.
In 2021, it came as a surprise after the Grammys added Latin music as part of their new global categories though it didn’t take effect until 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, which will take effect at the 2023 Grammys.
The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category
“My goal is to make sure that we represent all genres of music, including Afrobeats, at the Grammys. But it has to be done properly,” Mason said during the news conference. “I think the listening session last week was very important, very valuable, and a step towards that path.”
As African music artists team up with other international influences such as Beyoncé, Drake, Ed Sheeran and other stars, it has allowed Afrobeats to slowly penetrate other markets – eventually growing into a huge sensation. Burna Boy, Wizkid and Tems have each tested Grammy nominations before but under the global music field.
Burna Boy garnered a win in 2021 for his album “Twice as Tall.” CKay’s “Love Nwantiti” dominated on TikTok last year before eventually showing up on the Billboard charts. Maybe we will soon see Uganda’s own kadongo kamu get a nod from the Grammys too. 😂😂