- Women made history at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, with Beyonce breaking the record for most Grammys won by any woman or singer ever and Taylor Swift becoming the first woman to win Album of the Year three times.
- Still, the night was clouded by renewed calls for the Recording Academy to address its lack of transparency and inclusion.
- Singers Zayn Malik and The Weeknd recently joined the list of stars who have called out the Academy’s “secret committees,” who vote for the show’s most prestigious awards.
- The Weeknd took it a step further by promising to boycott the show indefinitely after he was snubbed with zero nominations despite breaking chart records with music from his critically acclaimed and top-selling R&B album, “After Hours.”
Beyonce’s Record Breaking Win Prompts Discussion
Beyonce and Taylor Swift’s record breaking wins stole the spotlight at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, but criticism from major stars and fans still poured in ahead of and during the telecast.
Swift’s quarantine-recorded album “folklore” took home Album of the Year, making her the first woman to win the award three times. Beyonce went into the night with 24 Grammys to her name and left with 28, making her the woman and singer with the most wins in the award show’s history. She is now tied with producer Quincy Jones for having the second-most Grammy statues, behind only conductor Georg Solti.
However, her win prompted discussion about how the Recording Academy awards even its most celebrated artists. Of Beyonce’s 28 trophies, just one comes from a major category, her Song of the Year win for “Single Ladies” in 2010. Most of her wins come from genre categories like R&B.
Compare that to the career of Allison Krauss, who Beyonce overtook as the woman with the most Grammy Awards. Of Krauss’s 27 Grammys, three came from top categories. Even Swift, who has 11 wins to her name, has three awards from major categories.
The gap highlights one of the Grammy’s largest issues: diversity and inclusion. The show has a history of awarding Black artists in scattered below-the-line categories, but it often looks them over when it comes to top prizes. In recent years, Beyonce has been snubbed by artists like Beck and Adele, the latter of whom devoted a portion of her speech to the matter. A similar moment occurred last night when Billie Eilish devoted her Record of the Year win to Megan Thee Stallion, who was a favorite to win for her song “Savage,” which featured Beyonce.
“You deserve it, honestly. Genuinely this goes to her,” the “Everything I Ever Wanted” singer said while accepting the award. “Can we just cheer for Megan thee Stallion?”
BTS Fans Slam Show
This familiar pattern of white artists acknowledging the successes of their Black peers on the stage of the show that snubbed them was not the only reason the show faced backlash. BTS fans in particular felt the Recording Academy used the band for its popularity while neglecting to reward them for their massive achievements.
The in-demand K-pop boy band was nominated for just one award last night: Best Pop Duo or Group Performance for their song “Dynamite.” Before the telecast even began, they lost to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me,” which marked the first time a duet by female artists won the category.
Still, for the more than three hours that the show ran, the Grammys repeatedly teased BTS’s performance, which it saved for the end of the program. Fans argue that if BTS is important enough to the show that it was designated such a coveted performance spot, the band also deserves recognition in major categories like Record and Song of the Year. The hashtag #SCAMMYS trended on Twitter as fans vented their frustrations.
Grammys Called Out for Secret Committees
Anger at the show started well before it even began airing. The Recording Academy has long been accused of being an unprincipled organization. Last week, The Weeknd even promised to boycott the show indefinitely because of its alleged deception.
The Weeknd was expected to be among the most nominated artists for the 2021 Grammys. His album “After Hours” and single “Blinding Lights” received critical acclaim and even broke Billboard records. Reports say he and the show engaged in heated talks with ultimatums regarding his Super Bowl performance before he wound up with a whopping zero nods.
After nominations came out, he tweeted that the show was corrupt. On Thursday, he told The New York Times he would no longer allow his label to submit his work to the show because of the “secret committees” in the academy.
Hours before the show aired, singer Zayn Malik joined critics in slamming the Grammys for not making enough progress on transparency and inclusion. Last week, he also called the show out for allegedly making their nominations based on gifts they receive from artists and producers.
The Recording Academy appears to be aware of these issues. During the show, the organization’s president, Harvey Mason Jr, took to the stage pledging to listen to marginalized voices. It also aired a statement condemning racism, sexism, and all forms of hate and vowed to work towards unity.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Esquire) (Associated Press)
“Emancipation” Producer Apologizes, Hopes He Did Not “Distract” From Film’s Message By Bringing Photo of Enslaved Man to Premiere
He said he plans on donating his collection of historical images to appropriate institutions.
McFarland Brings “Whipped Pete” Photo to Premiere
“Emancipation” producer Joey McFarland apologized on Sunday after facing backlash for bringing the original 1863 photo of the enslaved person the film is based on to the premiere.
“I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I have offended by bringing a photograph of Peter to the Emancipation premiere,” he wrote in a statement on Instagram. “My intent was to honor this remarkable man and to remind the general public that his image not only brought about change in 1863 but still resonates and promotes change today.”
The photo, frequently dubbed “Whipped Peter,” is one of the most famous images depicting the gruesome realities of slavery in America. He is facing away from the camera, revealing the severe scarring all across his back. According to the Library of Congress, the formerly enslaved man was actually named Gordon. Will Smith plays him in “Emancipation,” which follows his escape from slavery.
While walking the red carpet of the film’s premiere, McFarland carried the photo with him.
“I have the photo. This is the original photograph from 1863,” he told Variety. “I wanted it to be here tonight. I wanted a piece of Peter to be here tonight.”
While lamenting the fact that so many historical artifacts have not been properly preserved, McFarland told Variety that he “took it upon [him]self to curate and build a collection for future generations.” He said his collection will be donated after he dies.
His remarks were met with swift criticism from those who thought it was inappropriate for McFarland to not just own the picture, but to bring it to a Hollywood event.
“Why do you own the photograph? Why did you bring it to a movie premiere if the intent is to preserve it respectfully?” The Black List founder Franklin Leonard tweeted.
“I don’t know, man, but bringing ‘a piece of Peter’ that you ‘own’ to the red carpet of a movie that’s personally enriching you so that you can collect more slave memorabilia that you’ll keep until your death,” he added along with a giphy of Kenan Thompson saying “yikes.”
McFarland Acknowledges Historical Photos “Belong to the World”
Others argued that the photo should belong to Gordon’s family.
“Being in possession of a symbol that reflects our trauma is exactly what our oppressor would do. He is his ancestor’s child,” another person added.
In his apology, McFarland said that he hopes his actions “don’t distract from the film’s message, Peter’s story and just how much impact he had on the world.”
Throughout the development of “Emancipation,” McFarland said he discovered many photos of overlooked individuals with important historical stories. He said he always planned to donate them and believes “there is no better time to begin that process than now.”
“These photographs, which existed before me, will be around long after I am gone; they belong to the world,” he wrote.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Daily Beast)
Joe Rogan Holds Spot As Top Podcaster on Spotify in 2022
Earlier this year, some threatened to boycott the platform over Rogan and the health misinformation he shared on his show.
For the third year in a row, “The Joe Rogan Experience” was the number one podcast on Spotify, the company revealed in its yearly “Wrapped” feature on Wednesday.
“The Joe Rogan Experience” became exclusive to Spotify in 2020 after the host signed a lucrative deal with the audio streaming platform. “Call Her Daddy” by Alex Cooper, also a Spotify exclusive, followed Rogan on the charts. “Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain,” which will become exclusive to the service next year, came in third.
Rogan’s podcast has made several headlines over the last year as the podcaster faced backlash from medical professionals and major musicians for touting COVID-19 misinformation. Niel Young asked to have his music removed from Spotify in protest of the company’s deal with Rogan, and several other artists soon followed.
Just a few days later, several clips resurfaced of Rogan using a racial slur. Many called to boycott Spotify for platforming Rogan, but his popularity did not seem to fade by the year’s end.
There are over four million podcasts available to stream on Spotify and over the last year, the platform has expanded into new markets.
It also has started launching podcasts from several high-profile figures, including Kim Kardashian’s “The System,” and Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes.” Both of those debuted mid-year and did not crack the annual top-five list.
Comedian Gives David Beckham Ultimatum: Exit Role at Qatar World Cup Or £10K in Donations Gets Shredded
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded,” Joe Lycett said in a video.
Pressure on Beckham
Comedian Joe Lycett posted a video on Sunday saying he would shred £10,000 if soccer star David Beckham does not pull out of his deal to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.
Ahead of the event, which kicks off on Nov. 20, many have been raising concerns about human rights abuses in Qatar. The country criminalizes homosexuality, and it can be punishable by death.
Beckham’s deal to represent the country was reportedly worth £10 million, and many are frustrated that the athlete took such a big check from a country with known anti-LGBTQ laws. In his video, Lycett noted that Beckham has been openly supportive of his gay fans and was the first premiere footballer to do a photoshoot with a gay magazine.
In an attempt to get Beckham to bow out of his role, Lycett, who is pansexual, offered an ultimatum.
“If you end your relationship with Qatar, I’ll donate this £10,000 of my own money, that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting, to charities that support queer people in football,” he stated. “However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder.”
“Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.”
Beckham’s Reputation “Shredded”
Lycett said he would livestream the money shredding if that’s what the situation comes to. If Beckham does not back out of the World Cup, Lycett noted he will be forced to “commit what might be a crime,” as destroying legal tender is against the law in the U.K.
“Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha,” Lycett quipped.
Lycett then linked to a website titled https://benderslikebeckham.com/, which includes a written version of his message, as well as a countdown to when he will either shred the cash or send it to a non-profit.
Lycett is not the only U.K star to raise concerns about issues in Qatar. Singer Dua Lipa shut down speculation that she would be performing at the World Cup over the weekend by saying she has no intentions to visit the country until “it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host” the event.
Other stars, however, including BTS’s Jung Kook, are slated to take the stage.