When people talk of the greatest rap albums of all time, they talk of records by Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., and Nas. None of them have ever won a Grammy Award. Likewise, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, a near-one-hundred year institution, has never recognized legendary filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick with an Oscar.
A board of largely white and male taste makers and industry leaders make these decisions, and like any media outlet’s Year-End list coverage, the public descends like vultures to a meal. I get it, and as an entertainment journalist, I’m part of it myself. Opinions are fun to argue, and if you come from a Jewish background like I do, complaining is in my blood.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that these lists and award shows only hold as much esteem as we grant them. Awards like The Oscars and the Grammys both hold an intangible amount of meaning, and like Christmas magic, their strength exists only in the power of our belief.
Grammy Day. pic.twitter.com/zGCzrk6AJq
— Drizzy Source (@DrizzySource) January 26, 2020
In one award show alone, this past weekend’s Grammy Awards recognized Nispey Hussle, a massive figure in the rap world, only after their death, gave Best Latin Album to Rosalia, an artist from Spain, gave the top four awards to Billie Eilish, a lack of recognized diversity in award selection beyond one person in which the singer visibly begged “please don’t be me” on screen, gave Best Rap Album to Tyler, the Creator, an artist who describes their music as pop and commented that their use of the “Urban” category sounded like a more politically correct version of the n-word, and even had the Osbourne’s fumble through the names of the rap awards as if they were all just one big joke.
Tyler, The Creator calls out the #Grammys on their racism when it comes to music genres pic.twitter.com/rzWe2lR3xO
— Odd Future Fans (@itsOddFuture) January 27, 2020
The Oscars have yet to take place this year, but running through the nominations of all-male directors or all-white casts displays a similar and in-plain-sight amount of racism and sexism.
Historically, these long-held institutions have treated non-white, and non-male talent with an embarrassingly slim amount of respect. Their influence lies solely in our interaction, and it is a simple choice on our part to just not take part. We do not have to watch award shows.
What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments.