Closson: Beyond appearance of progress, Grammys remain stagnant in representation

Bruno Mars

For his work on "That's What I Like", Bruno Mars picked up the Grammy for Best R&B Performance. History shows that the Grammy Awards aren't necessarily about initial impact. Leading the pack with eight nominations, it was all aligned for a big night for JAY Z. So how did it pan out? And then there was the aforementioned Kendrick Lamar, who was nominated in the same category in 2015.

Kesha shined a spotlight on the #MeToo movement when she sang her hit "Praying". On top of that, Ed Sheeran won Best Pop Solo Performance, over four women, for a song about women's bodies. It seemed that the voters found Mars's crowd-pleasing and easily dancible R&B more palatable overall, while Lamar dominated in the rap categories.

SZA, the breakout R&B star nominated for five awards, was also shut out completely. Every year, the academy names artists it feels are worthy to take home top prizes and titles for their work, including best new artists and best album. Rather, it's an issue of opportunity. The satirical site The Onion summed up much of the criticism with the headline: "Bruno Mars Takes Home Coveted 'Least Threatening Artist' Award".

Oftentimes, after seeing our favorite artists being snubbed, we call into the question the value of such institutions.

Consequently, it was unsurprising when a soul-funk album by a rapper and actor, two insightful and political hip-hop albums and a shining pop record about millennial love were all passed over for an overproduced regurgitation of disco. Whatever you may think of Cardi B as a person or as a rapper, regardless, what she accomplished with "Bodak Yellow" was worthy of winning Best Rap Performance, and even critics saw that the song had a great hook and lyrics. "There's no way we can really deal with everybody". Music can be something as little as simply filling the silence or help motivate you as you deliberately pick certain songs and artists to get you through a workout or commute.

At the Grammys, Mars credited towering African American songwriters Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Teddy Riley for inspiring him. Although I had already been rejected during freshman admissions, I knew I wanted to attend this University.

Or not. Asked about the post-show tumult that has resulted in the trending hashtag #GrammysSoMale, Recording Academy head honcho Neil Portnoy had this to say, as reported by Variety. It's a hatred Mars encountered early in his career. Instead, the blame lies with The Recording Academy.

Perhaps the most powerful performances of the night came from Lamar and Kesha.

Whatever the reason, the Grammys also face another issue.

The Grammy's celebrated their 60th anniversary in New York City on Sunday evening.

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