The Grammy Awards are one of the longest-running and best ways to recognize and celebrate musical excellence. This year’s ceremony had many notable moments and controversies surrounding different celebrities in attendance.
Coming off of Grammy night, there has been a lot to digest and discuss. This week, Madonna’s appearance stirred up a debate about plastic surgery and ageism. There was a level of confusion and concern as Ben Affleck looked miserable at the awards ceremony next to his wife, Jennifer Lopez. Kim Petras made history by becoming the first trans woman to win a Grammy for best pop group/duo performance in partnership with Sam Smith for their song “Unholy”. On top of that, hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary with performances by a multitude of artists including Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and more.
Many of the bigger moments involved Beyoncé, who had nine nominations for her album “Renaissance.” This album delivers house music with queer inspiration. On Grammys night, she took home four awards, making her the most decorated artist in Grammys history. Throughout her decades-long career she has won 32 Grammys. She is also tied with her husband, Jay-Z, for the most Grammy nominations ever received with 88 nominations. She seems like she has done it all, yet there is one milestone that she has not crossed that has fans and admirers frustrated and anxious.
According to Vox, there are four Grammy categories that get publicity and attention: album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist. These categories are competitive purely because they do not focus on a specific genre of music. Anyone nominated can win. This year artists such as Adele, Mary J. Blige, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Beyoncé and more were nominated for album of the year.
Even though Beyoncé, by winning her fourth Grammy award of the night, has become the artist to win the most Grammys of all time, she has never won album of the year. In fact, out of the four large categories, despite being nominated 18 times within those categories, she has only won once. In 2010, she won song of the year for her songwriting contributions for “Single Ladies.” It seems strange that out of all of her successful accolades, the Recording Academy has not awarded her in those categories.
All of Beyoncé’s albums have had unique themes and sounds. Her last album, “Lemonade,” goes through all of the stages of grief when dealing with Jay-Z’s extramarital affair. She goes through denial, depression, anger and ultimately acceptance as she hopes to move on. Beyoncé was nominated for album of the year but lost to Adele’s album “25.” Adele graced the stage and for the majority of the speech praised Beyoncé, and acknowledged the snub. Upon the stage she even spoke directly to Beyoncé.
“The ‘Lemonade’ album was just so monumental…so well thought out…and soul bearing, and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see, and we appreciate that… we f—— adore you, you are our light,” Adele said.
To put into perspective, Taylor Swift holds the record for album of the year Grammys despite only having 11 wins in her career. She has won under that category three times for her albums “Folklore,” “1989” and “Fearless.” Other winners in the category include Adele for her album “25,” Billie Eilish for her album “When We Fall Asleep” and now Harry Styles for his album “Harry’s House.”
Despite knowing that every artist nominated deserved the nomination, and that every winner won for good reason, it is still heartbreaking to know that she has never won big in the notable categories that defines the Grammy’s night. Beyoncé is a pop culture icon. There is no denying her talent and her musical contributions to the industry.
In 2016 Beyoncé both performed with Coldplay and Bruno Mars at the Super Bowl and started a nationwide debate about Black Lives Matter. In 2018, Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline Coachella. In 2023 she performed before an exclusive audience in Dubai and was paid $280,000 a minute for an hour-long set. As she is constantly changing the game, her fans and admirers know her worth. It is a question of when the Recording Academy will see that as well.
Although I understand the passion of the Beyhive, Beyoncé’s fan base, Harry Styles should not be bullied for beating her out for album of the year. Her album “Renaissance” is the first act out of three albums. One can only sit on optimism and await the precious moment when she does accept her most anticipated album of the year award.