When Adele won the Grammy for album of the year, even she didn't want it. It belonged to Beyoncé.
Beyoncé's Lemonade album was a remarkable piece of work and a beautiful reflection of black culture. "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," she said when accepting her award for best urban contemporary album, "and have no doubt that they're beautiful, intelligent, and capable."
For many, Beyoncé's loss of album of the year was another shun to black people, one that Frank Ocean used as a reason for boycotting the award show this year. Indeed, when we look at her loss in the context of Grammys history and the lack of recognition for black artists, it's even more concerning. Here are four facts to put it into perspective.
The last black woman to win album of the year was Lauryn Hill in 1999— Natalie Weiner (@natalieweiner) February 13, 2017
— throwback hits/facts (@goldenerahits_) February 13, 2017
The last black artist to win album of the year was Herbie Hancock in 2008
— nat adderley (@natalieweiner) February 13, 2017
In 59 Grammy ceremonies there have only been 12 black winners of the album of the year category
3 of them were a Stevie Wonder
— Jack Freeman (@_jackfreeman) February 13, 2017
Black artists, and black female artists in particular, are crucial to the music industry. They deserve recognition beyond genre awards like best urban contemporary album. If Beyoncé can't be the first black woman to win album of the year since the '90s for Lemonade, who can?
2013 - mumford over frank
2014 - daft punk over kendrick
2015 - beck over beyonce
2016 - taylor over kendrick
2017 - adele over beyonce
— very festive tweets (@adam_lewis) February 13, 2017
Beyoncé has been nominated for a Grammy album of the year three times but has never won. At the Grammys press room this year while discussing her win, Adele said about Beyoncé's loss, "What the f*ck does she have to do to win album of the year?" The answer might simply be, "be white."