The Recording Academy recently shared the 2018 Grammy nomination list for music’s biggest night, and there were some obvious selections but a number of surprises as well. One of the biggest shocks came in the category for Album of the Year, which featured not one, but four hip-hop/R&B acts. But, more importantly, the AOY nominations list contained a primarily POC roster, making it the first time a white male artist hasn’t made the cut in the last 19 years.
The five nominations for Album of the Year feature three hip-hop artists and men of color and one woman. The list includes Childish Gambino for Awaken, My Love!; Lorde’s Melodrama; 4:44 by Jay-Z; Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.; and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.
This is a huge milestone for both hip-hop and artists of color, especially considering the recent controversy drawn from previous Grammys seasons. The awards ceremony garnered quite a bit of criticism last year, when Beyonce’s critically acclaimed album, Lemonade lost to Adele’s 25. And just one year before that, Taylor Swift’s 1989 beat out Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly.
In response to accusations of whitewashing the awards ceremony and not recognizing black artists’ contribution to modern music, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow released a statement pledging to acknowledge the diversity of the industry. In addition to opening the voting pool to a larger group of voters, the Academy also incorporated online voting for the first time this year.
It's about time the Academy caught on. Congrats to all the nominees!
(Photo from left: Steve Granitz/WireImage, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)