Grammy Awards for renaming controversial ‘urban’ category

Recording Academy announced on Wednesday that the award for best urban contemporary album will be renamed the best progressive R&B album ahead of next year’s ceremony, as part of the organization’s “commitment to development with a musical landscape”.

Recrysting – one of nine key changes in the award and nomination process – “aims to highlight albums that incorporate more advanced elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance and music electronics” said the academy.

“It can also contain production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk and alternative.”

Harvey Mason Jr., president and interim CEO of Recording Record, said in a statement that the main rules and guidelines for the 63rd Grammy Awards were introduced “to ensure that Grammy Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry.”

Tyler, The Creator is one of the prominent figures in the industry talked about Grammys categories, saying that “urban” is racially insensitive and belittled the innovation of black music.

“It’s stupid whenever – and I mean guys who look like me – we do anything that’s genre-wise or that’s all that always puts them in the tail or the urban category,” the 29-year-old producer and vocalist told reporters after being on January ceremony won the best rap album.

“I don’t like that‘ urban ’word – it’s just a politically correct way to say n-word to me,” he added.

That month the Recording Academy announced new diversity initiatives “ensure that the Academy – and the music company – really represent the artists and their audience.”

“Too often, our industry and the Academy have alienated some of our own artists, especially the lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that tends toward exclusion rather than inclusion,” Mason said at the time.

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Among the latest changes are updates for the best category of new artists, the Latin area, R&D and rap areas, and a nomination committee for review.

The category of best performance / singing is now being changed to best melodic rap performance to “represent the inclusiveness of growing hybrid performance trends” within the genre.

The renaming of the urban category is the latest development in the entertainment industry that reflects Black Lives Matter-driven initiatives the death of George Floyd.

Republic Records, a division of Universal, recently announced that it will no longer use “urban” to describe its departments or artists.

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