The Recording Academy has plans to create an Afrobeats category for the Grammys.
The Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. confirmed this while speaking to the press at the Global Citizens Festival in Ghana on Saturday (Sept. 24). During the interview, he disclosed that they have kicked off the process by meeting with the key players and creatives that includes artists, producers, songwriters, and executives in the Afrobeats genre.
“We just had a meeting literally about six or seven days ago with leaders of the Afrobeats community. We had a listening session, a virtual listening session where we heard from Afrobeats creators to talk about ‘what are the different subgenres, what are the needs, what are the desires,’ and my goal is to make sure we represent all genres of music including Afrobeats at the Grammys,” he told the Ghanian press.
He further revealed that the members of The Academy will have to submit a proposal for the mission to go into effect. However, they had a listening session and that was the first step. “But it has to be done properly. I don’t decide categories. The categories are decided by proposals submitted by members. So the members can say, ‘Harvey, I want a Afrobeats category,’ they write a proposal, it comes into the academy, it gets voted on then we’ll have it. That process is started now. I think the listening session last week was very important. It was very valuable and a step towards that path,” Mason continued.
Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon. Artists like Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, and many others have pushed the genre passed Africa making it one of the world’s leading genres in music. While Afrobeats is primarily a description of Nigerian and Ghanaian mainstream music, South African genres such as House, Amapiano, and Kwaito are said to also be considered as Afrobeats sub-genres. Same with Congolese sounds like the Soukous or the East African Singile. These could all go up for a nomination at the Grammys.