Home Entertainment Are the Grammys, Oscars and Awards Shows Racially Biased?
Are the Grammys, Oscars and Awards Shows Racially Biased?

Are the Grammys, Oscars and Awards Shows Racially Biased?


by G. Brown

It’s been four days and still the upset at the Grammys ripples through the music industry and fandom.

At the heart of the issue, how English singer Adele beat out America’s own Beyoncé in several key categories including Album of the Year. The reasons are as varied as the people tackling the argument. Some people take the view of legendary musician Carlos Santana that Adele is just a better singer.  Santana said, “I think that Adele won because she can sing, sing. With all respect to our sister Beyoncé, Beyoncé is very beautiful to look at and it’s more like modeling kind of music ― music to model a dress ― she’s not a singer, singer, with all respect to her.”  His opinion caused him so much grief as the Beyhive swarmed him on social media that Santana later issued an apology.

Even this year’s winner Adele seemed to think Bey should have won. While accepting one of her five Grammys last Sunday night, the “Hello” singer said, “For me my album for you was Lemonade, so a piece of me did die inside as a Beyoncé fan. I’m not going to lie, cause I was completely rooting for her — I voted for her.” Beyonce was moved to tears by Adele’s speech.  Others have been move to a far different emotion–anger.  Fans and some music industry insiders screamed foul and claim that racism robbed Beyonce of awards.

But Recording Academy President Neil Portnow dismisses the allegations of racial bias.  Portnow said, “I don’t think there’s a race problem at all. Remember, this is a peer-voted award. So, when we say the Grammys, it’s not a corporate entity, it’s the 14,000 members of the academy. They have to qualify in order to be members, which means they have to have recorded and released music, and so they are sort of the experts and the highest level of professionals in the industry. 

So Portnow’s defense is Beyoncé’s peers voted against her.  But was the award really decided by her peers.  Sure, they’re music industry members, but how do the 14,000 academy members break down race and gender wise?   According to RollingStone “Grammy voters are white. And male…Perhaps not coincidentally, Beyoncé chose the Year of Trump to make her most explicit statement on African-American pride, particularly in “Formation,” in which she sings: “I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils.”  As RollingStone points out, it’s hard for an academy made up of mostly White men to grasp the cultural revelations of  Black pride and  female strength that “Lemonade” was championing.

While Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” may have launched a cultural moment, Adele’s “25” album was simply more popular as weighed by sales.  RollingStone says, “Grammy voters were far more likely to have actually heard the Adele album (which has nearly 20 million sales worldwide, including more than 9 million in the U.S.) than Lemonade (not even 2 million).”

In a year where the presidential race has us questioning everything about race, is the Grammys upset just another residual of that mindset?  Portnow proffers that if the Grammys were racially biased, then how could Chance the Rapper have won?  While Chance did beat out White artists like Maren Morris and The Chainsmokers in some categories, he primarily went up against other Black performers in categories like Best Rap Album.   There’s a fallacy in logic when you try to say that 5 minorities won awards  and that proves you’re not racist when you may have given out 100 awards total. Many point to the Grammy’s history as proof that there is a racial bias citing only 10 Blacks have won Album of the Year in the awards 59 year history.

What do you think….did Adele deserve to win over Beyoncé?  Did the academy kind make it a Black vs. White thing and intentionally pit the two singers against one another?  Are people just over reacting or is there an underlying racial bias?


  1. Quote from Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, ” Whiteness is built in with the ability to rig the competition in favor of the white guy.”

  2. Years ago when “the Color Purple” received 8 to 11 nominations and did not win one, I knew. Then when I found that the committee is comprised of about 62 White males in my cohort, I was finished with the Oscars. I am 71 years, but I am not White. I was the first Black hired at the job I had in the highest paid department. I grew up with men like make up the Oscar group.

  3. Beyonce claims she is proud of her “Negro nose.” I have a question, did Beyonce bleach her skin? Has Beyonce had any plastic surgery?

  4. Adele winning those false idol awards instead of Beyonce is a form of war against melanin. Wars are not only fought on the battlefield, wars are fought in sports (Tom Brady/Patriots), movies (White male hero in every movie), award shows (Adele) and jobs (Huge black unemployment rate). Brothers and sistas in case you haven’t noticed, white supremacy has declared war against melanin! They’re fighting this war with their movies, tv shows, award shows and sports. We need to recognize this and come up with a plan to win the war against Amerikkkan/nazi white supremacy!

  5. Sports, award shows, jobs and life in Amerikkka are rigged for the benefit of white people. Any white person who has a drop of talent will be elevated, honored and celebrated in this white supremacist country. Britney Spears, Vanilla Ice, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber are several examples to support my statement. Here is how we can solve this problem; unite, own our own tv networks and completely separate ourselves from the white race. That is what Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey preached!


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