Will boycotting award shows make room for representation or make them a thing of the past?

  /  02.21.2017

Music award shows have long been deemed a means to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and contributions artists have made to society. But in recent years, more and more of these artists have decided to skip out on what is known to some as the biggest night of an artist’s career. And with the recent boycott of the 54th annual Grammy Awards last week by some of its most famous nominees, the no-show fever may soon catch others.

This year, artists like Kanye West, Drake, and Justin Bieber all gave a “no thank you” to the invitation to attend the award show. Despite them each being nominated for multiple nominations, it seemed no amount of nods in the world would have had them step foot on that carpet. Drake and ‘Ye were nominated for 8 awards, including Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album. Justin Bieber was up for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album, but according to TMZ, the men decided not to attend because they felt the show was “irrelevant.”

Frank Ocean’s album Blonde received huge praise and was noted as one of the best of 2016. He could have had a shot on winning Album of the Year, or at least being nominated, but intentionally did not submit his album on time for consideration because the Recording Academy “doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from.” The comment foreshadowed his feelings on the lack of representation of diversity at the ceremony. He then went on to say sitting the awards out would be his “Colin Kaepernick moment.”

Referring to the football player who took a knee during the national anthem to protest America’s racism, Ocean may have a point as history has shown that the Recording Academy fails to realize which stars hold the true power. Until last week, Drake had been nominated 27 times, but only won once. And the world remembers the moment Kanye spoke up for Beyonce when she lost Best Female Video to Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAs, but even now, years later, she is still getting snubbed as Adele took home the major Grammy awards this year.

If more and more stars follow suit, award ceremonies may soon become a thing of the past. The presence of hip-hop culture at such events seems to decrease year after year despite artists like Young Thug and Future selling out arenas in France and New Zealand and both Migos’ album and song going to No.1 on the American Billboard charts. Why aren’t they up for a nomination?

Still, at the very least, artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper are paving the way for more black artists to be represented. It’s a long way to go, but the more we take a stance on what we believe in, the better chance we’ll have next time around.


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