Beyoncé should never attend another Grammy Awards again

What does it mean that the most successful artist in Grammy Awards history is not a Grammys artist?

At the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Beyoncé won four awards to break the previous record set by the late classical conductor Georg Solti and bring her total career wins to 32.

“I try not to get too emotional,” she said while accepting fourth prize for dance/electronic music album for her upbeat and bold techno-disco-funk fantasy Renaissance. “I try to just receive this night.”

Tried but unsuccessful: With her eyes closed and her voice shaking slightly, the singer seemed genuinely moved by her performance as she thanked some of those who had helped her, including God and her parents, as well as her uncle Jonny, who she said is Involved her in the art that inspired “Renaissance” and “the queer community, for your love and for the invention of this genre.”

A classy speech, to be sure, and one that Beyoncé was rightly proud of: as understood all too well by the marginalized pioneers, she cries “Renaissance,” shaping culture can be lonely work, and here she was celebrated by her peers for their innovative vision.

At least until she wasn’t.

A woman in a dress accepts an award on stage

Beyoncé accepting the award for Electronic Dance Music Album at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

About an hour and a half after that record win, Beyoncé lost the Album of the Year award to Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House.” It was her fourth loss for the Grammys equivalent of best picture and 15 Time lost in one of the top Album, Record and Song of the Year categories. In fact, of the 32 Grammys Beyoncé has collected over the past two decades, only one is — one! — was a Grand Prize: Song of the Year, which she won in 2010 as the author of Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). All others come from genre categories like R&B songs and urban contemporary albums.

I’m not saying that these genre awards don’t matter. (More on that in a moment.) But the story the Grammys tell about popular music — it tells us today and will tell for future generations who examine the historical record — plays out in the major categories; This is where the Recording Academy’s taste and value system come into focus.

And that taste, unlike Beyoncé’s music, is fundamentally conservative.

Not conservative in the political sense, of course: As an institution, the Grammys are just as progressive — and eager to be seen as progressive – as any university or showbiz organization, which is why this year’s show, featuring performances by Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican superstar who sings and raps primarily in Spanish, and folk-rock singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, introduced by was opened by her wife and her two (very sweet) children.

Yet Carlile’s down-to-earth, hand-played music – which has earned her nine Grammys, including three on Sunday – clings to all sorts of old-fashioned ideals about tradition, craftsmanship and authenticity; ditto Lizzo, who won record of the year for the throwback soul jam “About Damn Time”; Adele, who won the pop solo performance award for “Easy on Me”; and Bonnie Raitt, who at 73 seemed as surprised to win song of the year for “Just Like That” as she did in 1990’s album of the year for “Nick of Time.”

No one disputes the tremendous talent of these artists or their positive impact, as no one disputes the charm of Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open” (which won Record and Song of the Year) last year or Jon Batiste’s “We Are” (which won the title received) contested album of the year). But that’s why they’ve both carved out a prominent place in the Grammys ecosystem alongside HER and Bruno Mars and Alicia Keys and John Legend — and Samara Joy, the 23-year-old jazz singer who just won Best New Artist that their music is rooted in their familiar forms and comforts.

One irony of Beyoncé’s loss for Album of the Year is that “Renaissance” might be the most storied project of all the nominees; It’s not just a club record, it’s also a scholarly work on the shifting contours of black and queer identity. But with its intricate weave of samples and interpolations, it’s also structurally daring in a way that apparently prompted the Academy’s suspicions about “real music” — a suspicion hinted at at the pre-televised Grammys ceremony, when Beyoncé’s longtime Contributor The-Dream lost the Songwriter of the Year award to Tobias Jesso Jr., a more conventional tunemaker known for his work with Adele and Harry Styles.

It’s worth going into the methodology here. All of the approximately 11,000 voting members of the Academy are allowed to vote in the four general Grammys categories of Album, Record and Song of the Year and Best New Artist. But “to ensure music creators vote in the categories in which they are most knowledgeable and qualified,” as the academy rules put it, members can only vote on 10 of the dozens of more specific awards (like R&B performance) and all 10 of those are not allowed to vote belong to more than three genres.

This explains the cognitive dissonance that results from the fact that Beyoncé is both the most-awarded artist in Grammys history And a trendsetter who keeps getting robbed. Specialists recognize their ingenuity and reward them for where their voices matter; however, voters as a whole either don’t care or don’t understand them, and thus consistently reject them in the top categories in favor of safer choices.

Does it sound like I’m explaining away an agonizing series of ebbed-out calls? Voters should not be let off the hook because of their mediocre views. After all, Beyonce’s recent loss has a larger historical context, namely that only three black women — Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston, and Lauryn Hill — have won Album of the Year in the Grammys’ 65 years. This is a clear distortion of the importance of black women in popular music, undermining the Grammys’ role as a recording company.

A man holds his two Grammy Awards backstage

Album of the Year winner Harry Styles backstage at the 65th Grammy Awards.

(Jay L Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

And it’s not just Album of the Year prestige that Beyoncé is being denied; It is also the academy’s recognition of their creative agency. Because she gathers so many collaborators to carry out her plans, voters seem stubbornly unwilling to accept Beyoncé as the author who controls her music — an annoying if hardly novel problem that affects both race and gender .

Simple politics is also less harmful. The Academy rewards artists it knows, whether through business connections or by being willing to perform at its charity galas and appear on its television shows. Carlile has done just about anything you can imagine; Styles’ manager, who sat next to him during Sunday’s ceremony, is Jeffrey Azoff, whose father Irving is one of the most connected people in the music industry. Beyoncé, on the other hand, doesn’t play much ball.

Also, a growing number of intrepid black artists — including Drake, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd — who have decided the Grammys’ values ​​don’t align with theirs. Concerns don’t end with them either: Like Beyoncé, Adele and Taylor Swift both declined to appear on this year’s show, perhaps a sign that Beyoncé’s issues are deterring even those acts that have done exceptionally well at the Grammys.

On the other hand, Swift’s hit LP “Midnights” came out after the ceremony’s admissions window closed (and she’d previously performed the original version of her nominated song “All Too Well” at the Grammys in 2014); She’s likely to sing again during next year’s show, where precedents suggest she has a much better chance of winning album of the year than another sure-fire contender: idiosyncratic R&B singer SZA’s “SOS.”

And what about Beyoncé herself, who said “Renaissance” is the first book in a planned trilogy? Certainly her career – including a world tour in the stadium starting in May – is progressing well without winning what she deserves. But if she doesn’t need the Grammys, the Grammys need her: Ratings for the Sunday show are up 30% from 2022, an increase attributed at least in part to the tension surrounding Beyoncé’s chance to break the all-time record.

More importantly, the show needs a superstar whose ambition and spirit of adventure will make it a beacon for other artists. If you lose the frontrunners, you risk losing those who come behind them. Beyoncé should never attend another Grammy Awards again

Sarah Ridley

Sarah Ridley is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Sarah Ridley joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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