The Grammys rename Best World Music category for its ‘connotations of colonialism’
Featured photo: Monica Almeida/Reuters.
Earlier this week, on November 2, The Grammys have renamed the Best World Music Album category. In an effort towards inclusion, they’ve changed the title to Best Global Music Album. The Recording Academy did so in their ongoing effort to remain culturally sensitive as the music industry moves towards increased diversity, visibility, and inclusion. The Academy rightfully said the “world” label often invokes “connotations of colonialism.”
Earlier this year, in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, The Grammys also replaced the Best Urban Contemporary Album category with Best Progressive R&B Album. Insofar as the term “urban” is often used as coded racism, the Academy is proving to make an ongoing concerted effort toward political correctness and rhetorical sensitivity. In a similar vein, the Oscars have also made efforts towards more universal terms in their awards titles. Last year, the Academy renamed Best Foreign Language film to Best International Feature, a category which the South Korean film Parasite was the inaugural winner.
The Grammys’ categorical move to Best Global Music Album was announced just 22 days ahead of their announcement of this year’s nominations. In a public statement, the Academy said,
Over the summer we held discussions with artists, ethnomusicologists, and linguists from around the world who determined that there was an opportunity to update the best world music album category toward a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term…The change symbolizes a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk, and ‘non-American’ that the former term embodied while adapting to current listening trends and cultural evolution among the diverse communities it may represent.”
The 2021 Grammy Awards are currently scheduled for January 21. No word have been given on whether the Awards ceremony will be a socially-distanced live streamed event, but given how many Awards shows have taken those steps, music industry fans can expect The Grammys to follow suit. For updates on this year’s nominations, visit the Academy’s official website.
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