2017: The Year Everything Became Racist

In Blog by Erik0 Comments

It takes a fair bit to get me riled up but this one takes the cake. Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been reading online commentary, most notably on the devolving cesspool that is Twitter questioning the validity of Adele’s Grammy win. Rant incoming.

First things first. I’m not a huge fan of Beyoncé’s music (it’s a personal preference thing) but I acknowledge she’s an incredible entertainer and culturally important figure whom many consider one of this age’s transcendent artists. To drive home this position, at this point in her career, Beyoncé has received well over 700 award nominations, converting those nominations into 240 wins, 22 of which are Grammys. This means Beyoncé is the second most awarded female artist of all time. Enviable numbers that suggest, and rightfully so, Queen Bey, someday, will assume her position in the musical pantheon of greatness. This brings me to my point. You know who else is a transcendent talent? Adele.

Twitter is awash with commentary questioning the validity of Adele’s latest Grammys win. Factions of social media and the commentariat are proffering positions questioning if racism and white supremacy played their part in Adele’s stunning Grammys outcome. Here are a few facts about Adele.

  1. Adele has received 284 award nominations winning 141.
  2. Adele has won 15 Grammys placing her equal fourth with Alicia Keys (another incredible artist).
  3. Adele writes or co-writes the large majority of her songs.
  4. According to charts, in 2016, Adele’s 25 was the year’s biggest selling album.
  5. 25 went Diamond (USA), 10 x Platinum (UK), and 9 x Platinum (Australia).
  6. In the United States alone, there have been 9.2 million certified sales of 25.
  7. At the 2017 Grammys, 25 won Record of the Year (Hello), Album of the Year, Song of the Year (Hello), and Best Pop Vocal Album of the Year.

Now, for those who know me, they understand I try to be reasonably objective and I’m more than happy to entertain opinions I may not necessarily agree with provided they are logical so in the interest of transparency and contextual application, here are some related Lemonade statistics.

  1. According to the Top Billboard 200 Albums of 2016, Beyoncé’s Lemonade finished the year ranked fourth.
  2. Lemonade went Platinum in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, and the United States.
  3. In the United States alone, in 2016, Lemonade ranked 3rd by total equivalent album units sales.
  4. At the 2017 Grammys, Lemonade won Best Music Video (Formation) and Best Urban Contemporary Album.
  5. At the time of writing this piece, Lemonade is #2 on the iTunes Top 100 albums.

On the strength of numbers alone, it appears both Adele/25 and Beyonce/Lemonade were pretty damn good. On closer inspection, it’s not unreasonable to suggest Adele can make a strong, if not compelling case for being ridiculously good. However, this isn’t the subject of my ire, it’s the race-baiting simpletons seeking to diminish Adele’s achievement by constructing and spreading an ‘argument’ based on a faulty premise.

It’s utterly contemptible to believe that some 350 judges or experts in their fields, those charged with voting (including genre specific experts), colluded to deny Beyoncé. Consider for a moment the statistics presented, numbers that establish an irrefutable fact that Beyoncé is the second most Grammy awarded female artist of all time. Now consider secretly, the Grammys’ award panels were filled with racists and white supremacists, a diverse mix of apparently racially motivated voters all conspiring to deny Queen Bey. To those proffering this position, you are mentally defective. You know who also performed well at the Grammys? The recently departed David Bowie who through his album Blackstar, swept to 5 posthumous victories. Given the success of Blackstar and the apparently reasonable assertion that it’s ok to throw around unfounded charges, clearly, the voting panels were populated by misogynistic, patriarchal reptilian overlords looking to subvert women’s rights. Strong logic.

Rather than celebrate the collective talent and culturally significant achievements of musicians who someday, will most likely achieve legendary status, we’re debating validation by beginning with a ludicrous premise; racism. Some times, an immovable object runs into an unstoppable force. It took Leonardo diCaprio, one of my favourite actors, 8.4 million attempts to achieve acting nirvana; an Academy Award. Leo was superb in Blood Diamond, Forest Whitaker was phenomenal in The Last King of Scotland. Some times, the judges prefer the immovable object, others the unstoppable force. It happens.

Beyoncé was superb. Adele was phenomenal. It’s that simple.


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