Adele won Album of the Year at the Grammys last Sunday, and the social justice warriors of the world are outraged at the racist travesty of it all. Adele’s great crime? Defeating Beyonce.
This particular controversy isn’t just limited to the Tumblr’s and Jezebels of the world. Even CNN felt it necessary to run a Very Special article asking the Very Important Question: “Is Racism why Adele beat Beyonce at the Grammys?”
Of course, we are to assume, even before opening the article, that the answer is: “Probably.”
After all, how could a plain white girl ever come out ahead of the beautiful, flawless, Black Goddess and Hero of All Americans, Beyonce? It has to be rigged. The world has decided that Beyonce is the greatest performer who has ever lived, and she should therefore win everything, always, with no exceptions. Can you believe that the Grammy voters would violate this agreed-upon pact? It can only be explained by racism.
Certainly for her diehard fan base known as the Beyhive — and for many music critics — Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” was a creative masterpiece.
But with its racial themes and imagery, some are questioning if the project was “just too black” for Grammy voters.
Kevin Powell, author of the memoir “The Education of Kevin Powell” and a forthcoming biography on rapper Tupac Shakur, thinks so.
He told CNN “Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ made a lot of people uncomfortable, because it is so political, so spiritual, so unapologetically black, and so brutally honest about love, self-love, trust, betrayal.”
“We are still a nation that does not want to deal so directly with truth,” said Powell, who has written about music and race for various publications, including Vibe magazine. “Adele’s album is strong, but it is just songs about love. It is safe and uncontroversial; it breaks no new ground. And neither do Grammy voters, generally speaking, when it comes to picking winners of this particular award.”
Yes, it is known. The Grammys haven’t been cutting edge since…well, it’s entirely possible that they have NEVER been cutting edge, actually. So what? Why does everything have to cater to the politically “edgy?”
The hype over black artists and their award show success has gotten to the point where we’ll soon see Oscars and Grammys and Golden Globes go to minorities just so these organizations can avoid the backlash. Perhaps they’ll even introduce unwritten quotas. Affirmative action goes Hollywood.
Back in the real world, it won’t really matter one way or the other. But won’t those artists feel a little silly winning awards they know they didn’t earn?