afrobeats – the pulsating sound coming out of West Africa and the diaspora – has been on the rise globally for nearly a decade. In recent years, the genre has gained ground in Western pop culture, and Grammys are taking note.
The Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr. , said recently that the Grammys were considering adding an award category for Afrobeats. Speaking to reporters in Ghana over the weekend, Mason said he was meeting with market players to explore the possibility.
“We called producers, songwriters, artists, executives and had a virtual audition session where we listened to the creators of Afrobeats,” he said at a September 24 press conference.
“[Nós] we just said, ‘What are the different sub-genres? What are the needs? What are the wishes?”
It would likely take a while for such a change to be made, however. Throughout the year, the Recording Academy – the group of music industry professionals that presents the Grammy Awards – accepts proposals for new categories from its members. These proposals are then reviewed by a committee and voted on by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.
For example, at an April 2021 meeting, the Recording Academy approved the addition of two new categories in the global and Latin music fields, but the change did not take effect at the 2022 Grammys.
This year, the Recording Academy announced five additional categories, including composer of the year and best score for video games and other interactive media, which will take effect at the 2023 Grammys.
“My goal is to make sure we represent all genres of music, including Afrobeats, at the Grammys. But it has to be done correctly,” Mason said during the press conference.
Afrobeats artists have crossed over into mainstream pop through collaborations with Beyonce, Drake, Ed Sheeran and other stars.
But they also achieved mainstream success on their own. Burna Boy, Wizkid and Tems all garnered Grammy nominations (although they’ve typically been relegated to the field of global music), while Burna Boy claimed a 2021 win for his album “Twice as Tall.”
CKay’s “Love Nwantiti” dominated TikTok last year before finally appearing on the “Billboard” charts.
The UK’s Official Charts Company released an Afrobeats singles chart in 2020, while Billboard debuted an Afrobeats ranking in the US this year, further nods to the genre’s growth outside of Africa.
Source: CNN Brasil