The Grammys mark the biggest night in music, and this year’s event was a historic one on all fronts – Kim Petras became the first transgender woman to win best pop duo/group performance award and Beyoncé became the most Grammy-awarded artist of all time.
While Beyoncé was making history, the real headlines have come from the singer losing out on album of the year, yet again.
The bewilderment, of course, does not come from the work Harry Styles produced. The singer was indeed faultless in his efforts on his latest album Harry’s House. He was at his best in his latest project, in which he really came into his own as an artist and rightfully deserved the win.
In fact, my initial prediction was that Styles would take home best pop vocal album and record of the year or song of the year for his undeniable smash hit As It Was, which would have been a fully deserved nod.
However, as a full body of work, unlike Harry’s House, Renaissance was more than just an album. It was a moment when one of the biggest global stars pushed what was once an underground LGBTQ sound into the mainstream agenda, in a way that could not be overlooked.
Indeed, it will go down as one of the most important and remembered albums that Beyoncé has ever produced. It is an album that carries historic significance. Out of the list of nominees, it is difficult to name any other album that was not only of high quality, but also culturally significant and impactful in the way this one was.
On those fronts alone, Renaissance was a surefire choice for most, myself included, for an album of the year win. Yet, we’re left with the same faces we pulled in 2014 and 2017, although losing to Adele’s 25 album was completely justified.
This loss, however, is difficult to understand and will have many wondering what more the judges expect Beyoncé to achieve before she can finally claim the coveted prize.
The Renaissance album even scooped Beyoncé a Grammy award for best dance/electronic recording: an award that, previously, only three black women had won before – Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Donna Summer.
With Renaissance, Beyoncé loses in the album of the year category for the fourth time. Despite having become the most awarded artist in Grammy history, she has famously never won in the biggest category of the awards show.
In fact, only three black women have ever won the coveted award – Natalie Cole was the first in 1992, followed by Whitney Houston in 1994 for The Bodyguard soundtrack. The last time this happened was 24 years ago, in 1999, when Lauryn Hill picked up the award for her debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
The Recording Academy now has to ask itself, how it has allowed one of the most culturally defining artists in a generation – its most awarded artist of all time – to never claim an album of the year award.
For what the album did for dance music, for LGBTQ culture, specifically in the black community, the project will be remembered for years to come. Sadly, so will be the snub that the Recording Academy has inflicted on it.