20 years black album

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Academy head insists the Grammys don’t have a race problem like the Oscars. He’s wrong.

To the ears of so many fans, artists and writers, hearing Faith Hill call Adele back onstage to receive the Grammy for album of the year over Beyoncé’s Lemonade, was a death rattle: the sound of the Grammyscredibility choking on its last sip of split pea soup before the life support machines kicked in.

“If we have any respect for albums, Lemonade is the album of the year,” wrote Win Butler of Arcade Fire, a former album of the year winner. Even Adele found it unsettling, asking “What the fuck does [Beyoncé] have to do to win album of the year?” at her post-Grammys Q&A.

In trying to explain the decision, racism was one of the first places many artists and writers turned to. “There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year there have been over 200 black artist who have performed,” Solange wrote, pointing out a very telling balance of power in the way the Grammys appreciate treat black artists in since-deleted tweet

However, Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, sees no issue here. He rejected the notion that the Grammys have a race problem in an interview with Pitchfork, published Tuesday. “No, I don’t think there’s a race problem at all,” he said, citing Chance the Rapper’s best new artist win as evidence.

Portnow too is incorrect: The Grammys do have an issue recognizing talent of color. They have for years, and unless steps are taken, there’s no reason to believe their voting will get any more representative. Read more (Opinion)

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