04 | opinions
Feb. 22, 2017
Beyoncé’s snub, predictability raises doubts for Grammys’ relevance
Music Critic email@example.com @KlynParker
Why do I keep doing this to myself? Every year I pump myself up for the Grammys and everything that goes along with them. I make predictions for who will win the awards. I anxiously await the show’s unusual, innovative collaborative performances. And I let myself believe that the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences might just pick deserving winners. Alas, I’m always disappointed. The 2017 Grammys were yet another instance in a long tradition of picking the safest, whitest musicians to win the most prestigious awards in music. The performances were mostly bland, and I got most of my predictions right--showing how easy it is to guess what the Academy will choose to support. The most egregious of these offenses was Adele’s victory in the Album of the Year category for her third album, “25.” While Drake and Justin Bieber were undeserving nominations, and the great Sturgill Simpson
admittedly had no chance, I held out hope that Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” might win. But it’s the Grammys, and their collective obsession over every bit of boilerplate,whitewashed soul and chamber pop that Adele puts out helped push her to the top, yet again. “25” wasn’t a bad album by any means. The lead single “Hello” is pretty great and I wouldn’t say that any of the record’s songs are bad, per se, but the fact remains that “25” completely lacks any instance of innovation. On the contrary, “Lemonade” is one of the most powerful, political and personal contemporary pop albums of the last decade. Beyoncé’s exploration of celebrity--specifically as a black woman--and all the baggage that comes with it was innovative and challenging while keeping Beyoncé’s indelible charisma and penchant for making consistently great pop. This album had Jamaican dancehall (“Hold Up”), brazen rock (“Don’t Hurt Yourself”), stunning balladry (“Pray You Catch Me,” “Sandcastles”) and even Creole country-jazz fusion (“Daddy Lessons”). “25” had chamber pop--and that’s it. I wouldn’t be this fired up about Lemonade’s snub if this had been a one-time instance. But this marks five straight years of safe music by a white artist taking Album of the Year over innovative, prodigious releases by black musicians. In 2013, folk-rock buffoons Mumford and Sons beat Frank Ocean. The following year, something similar happened; even though I love Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, they beat what is essentially considered
modern mainstream hip-hop’s opus in Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.a.a.d city.” In 2015, the “who is Beck?” meme was birthed as he defeated Beyoncé and her self-titled pop masterpiece. And then last year, Taylor Swift’s pristine “1989” beat Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” which is maybe the single greatest hip-hop album ever recorded. If the Grammys want to maintain relevance, they need to really take a look at why they’re voting for who they vote for. I can’t name a single critic who had “25” as their 2016 album of the year, but I could list dozens who supported Beyoncé. Open your eyes, Grammys. The offenses don’t stop there. I was fine with “Hello” winning Song of the Year, but for Record of the Year, Beyoncé’s “Formation” was the clear choice. No other pop star was willing to take a stand against police brutality last year and “Formation” was that statement. Luckily, the Grammys got one of the four main awards right: Best New Artist. Chance The Rapper took home the award after rapping “I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy” on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam.” Through his campaigning, the Grammys will finally support independent artists and Chance was the biggest benefactor of the week. While a few of the performances were unnecessary (are we going to see Pentatonix every year?) and many were completely forgettable (who remembers that Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood performance?), a select few stood out. Chance came through with tons of passion in performing
a medley of “How Great” and “All We Got,” endearing himself to moms everywhere. Beyoncé looked like a goddess in her performance, although I thought her song selection was uninspired. Sturgill Simpson was great on the big stage and Bruno Mars’ Prince tribute was tasteful and exhilarating. But the moment that gave me the best glimpse into what the Grammys can be was for A Tribe Called Quest. All the little features, from Anderson. Paak’s singing and drumming to the immense respect paid to the late Phife Dawg, to Busta
Rhymes coming out and referring to President Donald Trump as President Agent Orange. Nobody had more fun than Q-Tip and company, and I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. I think it was so great because it exposed what a great Grammys performance should be: an exhibition of artist’s passion for their craft. I just wish that the Academy’s voters would show us that they have that same passion by supporting innovation over stagnation; maybe then we’d have Grammys worth paying attention to.
First African-American Bachelorette will start a new age of reality TV
Contributing Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
After 21 seasons of the Bachelor and 11 seasons of the Bachelorette, we are just now seeing the first African -American to give out the coveted red
roses. It’s about time if you ask me! Our country saw the first AfricanAmerican president before it saw an African- American reality star on a major television network’s hit show. Does that seem crazy to anyone else? Rachel Lindsay, a 31-year-old lawyer from Dallas, Texas, is one out of four left in the current season of the Bachelor staring Nick Viall. However, the announcement that she would be the season 12 Bachelorette came last Monday while the nation watched her try to secure a spot in the hometown visits. I guess I’m a little upset that ABC decided to announce the new Bachelorette, while she was still competing on this season of the Bachelor. Way to ruin the surprise. Isn’t the whole premise of the show to keep the audience guessing which one he will choose? Jimmy Kimmel even asked her what was up with the spoiler when she was announced as the next Bachelorette on his show last Monday night. Her reply was simply that it was
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time for the Bachelor Nation to know and that she was ready to find love! No matter my feelings on the timing of the reveal, I am super excited that Lindsay will be around for another whole season! She seems level-headed and smart instead of some of the ditsy girls that we have seen in the past, but she also knows how to laugh at herself and have a good time. I think that she will also bring some issues to light that this show has never covered first hand. Part of me is sad that Rachel and current Bachelor, Nick Viall, didn’t end up together. I mean, they started off so well with Rachel receiving the First Impression Rose and all, so I’m curious to see what happened that made Nick decide she wasn’t the one. I guess it’s for the best though. They seemed happy together, but not lifelong soulmates. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t see him with any of the remaining women, but that’s a whole other topic. Nick seemed genuinely happy at the news of Rachel being named the next Bachelorette. He tweeted after last week’s episode
saying: “My heart is full of joy for you Rachel. Congrats!! You will be one hell of a Bachelorette!! Beauty & class..you have it all!! The Bachelor” First off, did you need to sign it The Bachelor? We all know who you are and she obviously does too, so were those extra eleven characters really necessary? Apparently, he thought he could do better because a minute after the first tweet he tweeted again saying, “No one better to show Bachelor Nation, & the world, the beauty of embracing diversity! So excited for you Rachel! #thebachelor #diversity” #Diversity… really Nick? At least he didn’t sign it The Bachelor again. This guy needs someone to approve his tweets. No matter how you hashtag the
historical news, it’s still an exciting time in Bachelor Nation. Fans of the show and even those who are not can recognize the importance of this news and celebrate it! We are entering a new age of Bachelor TV. I am excited to see what Rachel will bring to the show and wish her the best in finding love.
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