Harvey Manson Jr., the CEO of the Recording Academy, the organising body for the Grammy Awards, has revealed how winners are selected for the prestigious music award.
This comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding the 2024 Grammy Awards, where several Nigerian artists, including Burna Boy, Davido, Asake and Ayra Starr could not secure a win in their respective categories.
Addressing the concerns in a viral video, Manson said that Grammy winners are chosen based on votes from members of the Recording Academy, who are music professionals in the United States.
He said that the selection process is not influenced by committees, labels, or journalists.
“You have to understand that the only way to win is to have the member of the academy vote for you. To be a member of the academy you have to be a professional, working in music in the United States for now. Hopefully, we grow that,” he said.
“But right now, if you are working professionally in the United States you can become a member of the recording academy.
“Once you are a member of the recording academy, all the music is submitted, the members listen to it and they evaluate it on the quality of the art.
“Not the sales, not the streams, not how many fans, but purely on the opinion. It is very hard, as you all know because it is subjective.
“It is no best song or best record, it is just the opinion of that membership of that particular year. That is how you win a Grammy. The voters vote. There is no committee, no journalist, and there are no labels.
“It is the music professionals voting for their peers,” he said.
Jay Z, the US rapper, also slammed the Grammy Awards for “never giving” Beyonce, his wife, ‘Album of the Year’ category in spite of her impressive record of 32 wins.
During Jay-Z’s acceptance speech for the Dr Dre Global Impact Award at the Grammys, he stated further: ‘“some of you will go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed, some of you may be robbed, some of you don’t even belong in the categories.”
Also, last year, Angelique Kidjo said the Grammy Awards need to embrace “diversity and gender equality” to survive.
Greg Carr, associate professor in the Department of Afro-American studies at Howard University, says the music industry was built on exclusion.
“Once exclusion was no longer an option, the inclusion of Black music has been curated, at least historically, very carefully, to absorb that music while minimizing black people,” he says.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the grammys snub sparked widespread disappointment and frustration among fans and the Nigerian music community.
Social media platforms are flooded with expressions of disappointment, as fans lament the loss of their favourite stars.
The Best African Music Performance category saw South Africa’s Tyla emerge victorious with her song, “Water”.
Also, in the much-anticipated Best Global Music Album category, Davido and Burna Boy fell short, with Shakti’s “This Moment” clinching the coveted award.
The hashtag, #GrammySnubNaija, trended on X formerly Twitter, with fans venting their frustration over what they perceived as a missed opportunity for Nigerian music to gain international recognition.
The Twitterverse became a virtual town square for fans to voice their disappointment, frustration, and disbelief.
NaijaMusicLover tweeted, “I can’t believe what I just witnessed. All our hopes dashed in one night. Davido and Burna Boy deserved better.”
X user, @AfrobeatsQueen, shared a meme of a shocked face, captioned, “Me watching the Grammys realising they really snubbed our Nigerian kings. #ShameOnGrammys.”
@NaijaJollofQueen wrote, “This is beyond heartbreaking. Our artistes have been making waves globally, and the Grammys failed to acknowledge their impact. Disappointed but not defeated. We’ll keep shining.
In a series of passionate tweets, @MusicAficionado expressed, “It’s not just about winning awards. Nigerian music has influenced the world. Our artistes have elevated the game. Grammy or not, we are a force to be reckoned with. #NaijaStandUp.”
Celebrities also joined the conversation stating, “Sending love and respect to our stars who gave their all. We see your hard work and dedication. The Grammys might have missed it, but the world knows who runs the show. #NaijaToTheWorld,” they said.
In spite of the disappointment, some X users emphasise the need to focus on the bigger picture.
@AfrobeatInsider tweeted, “Let’s not forget the impact Nigerian music has made globally. Awards are just one part of the journey. Our artistes have opened doors for Afrobeats worldwide. The movement continues.”
NAN reports that Burna Boy received four nominations in 2024: Best Melodic Rap Performance (“Sittin’ on Top of the World” with 21 Savage); Best Global Music Performance (Alone); Best African Music Performance (City Boys) and Best Global Music Album (I Told Them). (NAN)