Review: Jon Batiste, underdog of the 2022 Grammy’s is the first African American to win Album of the Year in over 10 years

Review: Jon Batiste, underdog of the 2022 Grammy's is the first African American to win Album of the Year in over 10 years

The Grammy’s does not only host an award ceremony but also controversy. From ethical and racial issues, to head scratching nominations, every year people are waiting for the surprise. This year, the public was confused, inspired and a little ill-mannered to the soulful genius of Jon Batiste.

To everyone’s surprise, Batiste’s album “WE ARE” won best album of the year over many popular names. Many had artists such as Olivia Rodrigo, Kanye West or even Lady Gaga running away with the trophy, and even Batiste himself seemed surprised to win.

This win led many to wonder who Batiste even was, due to the sad reality that he was not a popular name.

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Many of the population was unknowingly introduced to Batiste as the guy who wrote the soundtrack for the Disney film “Soul.” Though an amazing soundtrack for a great animation movie, it is an almost shameful description of Batistie’s full musical talent. Jazz or soul is typically not topping the Billboard charts. This man is multi-talented with the ability to compose, play the piano and direct music which not many people, much less most artists, can do.

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His album “WE ARE” is an album of “love, joy and community…also the power of social revolution,” said Batiste per Apple Music. The project is full of life and has a story to tell from political and social issues to life experiences. Even ignoring the message and symbolism of this album, it is impossible to not notice the variety and cohesiveness. Featuring gospel choirs, Pj Morton, James Gadson and even Batiste’s high school marching band, the LP is filled with all of the right elements.

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Yes, there were plenty of other artists who also deserved this award, but there is no reason to not appreciate what Batiste has done. Not only is his body of work amazing, this achievement of his may lead to the betterment of music.

After Batiste’s astonishing win, many realized that this was the first African-American to win album of the year since Herbie Hancock in 2008. Grammy’s historically fail to award artists of color any with the “big four” awards, and more commonly give these musicians lesser achievements.

Seeing this drought end is amazing for the progress of music.Though it would be great to see Kanye West, Olivia Rodrigo, or any of the other nominees win, there is no reason to downplay what Jon Batiste and his amazing work has just accomplished.


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