Last week, millions of Americans gathered around their TVs and laptops to watch the infamous Grammy Awards. I am one of those millions who decided to join in and watch. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with what I saw — but that’s nothing new. My love-hate relationship with the Grammys continues for another year as I watched my favorite artists get snubbed. Watching the Grammys feels like repeatedly giving your poor excuse for a boyfriend multiple second chances, even though you know you’ll be disappointed. This year was no exception.
In November, I wrote about the Grammy nominations and my predictions on who would win and who shouldn’t win. Only one of those predictions came true, which was Billie Eilish winning song of the year for “What Was I Made For?” Even though this win may upset some people, I believe it deserved to win and was one of the better songs on the nomination list.
This year, I truly believe that the Grammys were full of snubs. But I also think there were plenty of artists who fully deserved the Grammys that they won — starting with Victoria Monét, who won best new artist. To say the least, I was not expecting this, but I’m also not mad at it at all. I thought that maybe Ice Spice or Noah Kahan would win, but I can truthfully say that Monét most definitely deserved this. There was discourse online saying that she did not deserve this award simply because some people had never heard of her or her music, but the Academy thought differently.
Monét has been making music for about 10 years and has even written hit songs for Ariana Grande. Songs like “Thank U, Next,” “My Everything” and “7 Rings” were all written by Victoria Monét — everyone has heard her music, even if you didn’t know it was her. Her sophomore album, “Jaguar II,” showcased all her songwriting abilities and musical talents.
SZA was another artist that I thought deserved all the Grammys that she won that night, including Best R&B Song, Best Progressive R&B Album and Best Pop Duo. Her sophomore album “SOS” truly earned all the love in the world because it was just that good. She had a number 1 song on the Billboard Top 100 for 21 weeks, and I can confidently say that this album was life-changing. As a longtime fan, I am nothing but proud to see all the success that SZA has accumulated because it’s well deserved. Despite going home with 3 Grammys, she received 9 nominations — the highest number of nominations that night.
Many artists that night went home without winning their categories, but so many of those artists were also robbed of their win. The Grammys has a history of praising and rewarding mediocre music that does not stand up to the other music in their categories. One of the biggest snubs of the night was Miley Cyrus winning the record of the year for “Flowers.” Now, I may be biased, but I don’t think Cyrus deserved this win. “Flowers” was one of those songs that radio stations loved and quickly got overplayed. I do not like this song at all — I find it very irritating, and I wanted SZA to win with “Kill Bill.” I do think SZA got snubbed, as hers was the best song in the category.
Later in the night, Taylor Swift won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Midnights.” While she accepted her award on the Grammy stage, she announced her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” I am a Taylor Swift fan. I enjoy her music and I think she is incredibly talented, but I don’t think this was the right place to do an album announcement. There is a time and a place for everything, and this was neither the time nor the place. I just feel like announcing your new album at an event to celebrate artists is a little weird, especially when it’s the Grammys.
To win a Grammy and be recognized for your talent is a big deal. Swift announcing her new album felt like more of a marketing strategy than anything, and it made it feel like she didn’t care about her win. Her announcement also took a lot of attention off the actual award show as well. This is a prestigious event, not a publicity campaign.
Speaking of Taylor Swift, she also went home with the Grammy win for album of the year. In my previous article, I stated that if “Midnights” won, it would be a major upset because of its mediocre music. This is nowhere near Swift’s best album, and it certainly wasn’t the best album on the nomination list. This win was truly the biggest upset of the night, but it’s also just expected at this point.
The Academy loves Swift at the expense of other artists. When you look at the nomination list, it’s crystal clear that there were better albums. I’m talking about “SOS” by SZA and “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard” by Lana Del Rey. To me, these two albums were far better in production and lyricism compared to “Midnights.” Despite receiving nominations, SZA and Del Rey did not win the Grammy, regardless of many predictions. I may sound like a broken record by saying I think SZA should have won this category, but it’s true.
The last time a Black woman won album of the year was over 25 years ago, when Lauryn Hill won in 1999 for “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” These big award shows constantly fail to appreciate Black artists, specifically women, regardless of their hard work or success. Beyoncé has never won album of the year even though she is the artist with the most Grammy wins in history.
Just last year, Beyoncé’s album “Renaissance” lost album of the year to Harry Styles. It just shows that Black women can be on the top and still fall short when it comes to competing against white artists. It’s a constant cycle that has yet to be broken, no matter the obvious success of Black artists.
Even though the Grammys disappoint me year after year, I will continue to tune in. Hopefully, next award season will leave us satisfied with the winners, even though this is unlikely. Regardless, 2023 was a year full of amazing music and amazing artists that deserved to be celebrated. I’m sure whatever 2024 brings to the stage will be even better, and my toxic relationship with the Grammys will continue.
Danae Poteat writes primarily about pop culture and current events. Write to her at [email protected].
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