The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category


Afrobeats, the vibrant, fusion sound coming out of 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. He recently said that the Grammys were considering adding an award category for Afrobeats. Speaking to reporters in Ghana over the weekend, Mason said he had met with players in the genre to explore the possibility.

“We called producers, songwriters, artists, executives and had a virtual listening session where we heard from the creators of Afrobeats,” he said in a Press conference on September 24. “[We] I just spoke, ‘What are the different subgenres? What are the needs? What are the wishes?’”

However, it would probably take a while to make that change. Throughout the year, the Recording Academy – the group of music industry professionals who present the Grammy Awards – accepts proposals for new categories from its members. These proposals are then reviewed by a committee and voted on by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.

For example, at a meeting in April 2021, the Recording Academy approved the addition of two new categories in the field of global and Latin music, but the change did not take effect at the 2022 Grammys This year, the Recording Academy announced five additional categories, including Composer of the Year and Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, which will take effect at the 2023 Grammys.

“My goal is to make sure we represent all genres of music, including Afrobeats, at the Grammys. But it has to be done right,” Mason said during the press conference. “I think last week’s listening session was very important, very valuable and a step in that direction.”

Afrobeat artists have crossed over into mainstream pop thanks to collaborations with Beyoncé, Drake, Ed Sheeran and other stars. But they have also achieved mainstream success on their own. Burna Boy, Wizkid and Tems have all earned Grammy nominations (although they’ve usually been relegated to the world music field), while Burna Boy picked up a win in 2021 for his ‘Twice as Tall’ album. CKay’s “Love Nwantiti” dominated TikTok last year before appearing on the Billboard charts.

The UK’s Official Charts Company released an Afrobeats singles chart in 2020, while Billboard debuted a US-based Afrobeats chart this year, further nodding to the genre’s growth outside of Africa and the diaspora

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