When Adele won album of the year at the Grammys Sunday she dedicated her speech to Beyonce, claiming the award undoubtedly should have been hers.
She was right, and the Academy needs to make some serious changes to ensure minority artists, specifically black women, are not swept under the rug for their groundbreaking and monumental achievements.
No one is disputing Adele is a talented artist, and her album 25 was truly remarkable. However, even she recognized it failed to impact society the way Lemonade had. And when she was handed her award, she made sure everyone in that room knew that Beyonce had once again been robbed.
“I can’t possibly accept this award,” Adele said. “And I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful and gracious. But my artist of my life is Beyoncé. And this album to me, the “Lemonade” album, is just so monumental.
“Beyoncé, it’s so monumental. And so well thought out, and so beautiful and soul-baring and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see. And we appreciate that. And all us artists here adore you. You are our light.”
The Grammys recent snub highlights an issue the ceremony has had for decades. It consistently ignores R&B and hip-hop artists, invalidating their work and refusing to recognize the importance of their craft.
This is not 1920. There is no excuse for the fact that only three black women have ever won album of the year. There is no excuse for a black artist not winning that award since 2008 when Herbie Hancock took home the statue for his album “River: The Joni Letters.”
Beyonce lost the same award to Beck in 2015, Kendrick Lamar lost to Taylor Swift in 2016 and Frank Ocean lost to Mumford and Sons in 2013 for Best New Artist.
A hip-hop album hasn’t won Album of the Year since 2004 when Outkast took home the gold.
"I felt like it was her time to win," Adele said backstage. "What the f— does she have to do to win Album of the Year?"
A sentiment echoed by millions across the globe.
What does Beyonce, or any black singer for that matter, have to do to win?
Lemonade was a completely unique and gorgeous work of art that blended riveting songs with a perfectly planned video element. Beyonce didn’t just write an album, she made a movie.
She unabashedly wrote on pain, grieving and forgiveness and sparked international conversations on love and the complexities of relationships. She is an icon for women everywhere, but especially for minority women who have so often been oppressed and looked over. And she did this album for them.
“It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families — as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys — and see themselves, and have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent and capable,” Beyonce said. “This is something I want for every child of every race. And I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.”
This oversight resulted in Adele literally breaking her award in half to share with the artist she — and millions across the world — felt was the deserved winner. The Academy needs to recognize its flaws are obvious and unacceptable.
Whether the voting body, procedure, amount of nominees or even criteria list is altered, something must change. Their work is relevant. Their work is worthy. It is high time, they are recognized for it.