The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category to the ceremony, an attempt by producers to add an entry that would celebrate reggae, hip-hop, and other forms of African-American cultural music during the show’s 40-year history.
Afrobeat is a term for a form of rhythm or sound that originated from Africa in the 1950s.
The Grammy Awards have previously had a Best Rap Recording category, but the category is often criticized for featuring a narrow range of musicians.
“This is something we have been talking about for a while – I think we are trying to expand the music category,” said Recording Academy executive Glenn Yago in an interview with NPR.
“So, for example, this year, you had Beyoncé, Rihanna, Adele, and Bruno Mars,” he said. “This year we have the hottest pop stars in the world. But this time we went to K-Pop. And we had a woman from Nigeria, a man from Jamaica, a man from Ethiopia, and a woman from Ethiopia in the K-Pop category. We wanted to expand the diversity in the music category to include more African-American artists.”
It’s not the first time Grammy voters have considered expanded music categories. Grammy voters have added jazz, gospel, world, and folk categories to the Grammys since 1977. The nominations also include a Latin- and jazz-based category for the first time since the category was introduced in 1970.
However, it’s not the first time the Recording Academy has discussed expanding the Grammy’s music categories. According to The Recording Academy’s website, the Academy’s previous proposal for an Afrobeat category was rejected, largely because it would require a lot of programming, and that the music would be considered together with other genres.
This week, some of that rejected Afrobeat idea, though. The Recording Academy posted on Facebook that it’s trying to find a way to consider music genres that