• Creatively Asian

Let's Talk About the Grammys

Nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards were released on November 24, 2020. As this year has accentuated the need for diversity, the Recording Academy is aiming to represent communities. Acts like BTS received a nomination for the first time, whereas artists like Jhené Aiko, H.E.R., and Jacob Collier garnered nominations in the General Field categories. Read more about the big nominations and the snubs for the Asian community!

(still taken from the “Dynamite” music video)


BTS: South Korean group BTS is paving the way yet again. By receiving a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, the septet is the first K-Pop act to receive a Grammy nomination. Their chart-topping single, “Dynamite”, will compete with Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, and more at the 2021 Grammys. RM, member of BTS, explained that the goal of the song was to “explore the world with positive vibes and energy”, after difficult times due to the pandemic.

(picture from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilombo_(album))

Jhené Aiko: Japanese-American singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko received three nominations for the 2021 Grammys. Her R&B album Chilombo garnered three nominations, including Album of The Year. She described the album as “all freestyles where [she touches] on many subjects and relationships.” Chilombo was recorded as a freestyle in Hawaii, being inspired by both the environment and traditional singing bowls to create a sense of tranquility.

(pictures from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRZWiqBHYaY, https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/music/vallejo-singer-h-e-r-takes-home-grammy-brings-audience-to-its-feet)


H.E.R.: Filipina-American singer-songwriter H.E.R. received three nominations for the 2021 Grammys. Most notably, her protest song “I Can’t Breathe” has been nominated for Song of The Year. “I Can’t Breathe” is a response to the police murders of unarmed black citizens, contributing to the fight against systemic racism. When asked about the song, H.E.R. said that “music is powerful when it comes to change and when it comes to healing, and that’s why I made this song. To make a mark in history.”


(picture from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Collier)

Jacob Collier: British Chinese musician Jacob Collier received two nominations for the 2021 Grammys, including a nomination for his fourth album, Djesse Vol. 3. Collier is known for his signature use of reharmonization and his blending of several genres, including R&B, EDM, and pop.



The Snubs:

The Recording Academy has constantly been criticized for snubbing artists of color.

(picture from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sawayama)

Japanese-British singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama released her anticipated debut album, SAWAYAMA, in April 2020. Sawayama received widespread critical acclaim from several notable music magazines. The album explores themes ranging from female empowerment to capitalism, with a blend of several genres, including pop, nu metal, rock, R&B, and more. Despite being universally lauded by critics, Sawayama received 0 nominations for the 2021 Grammys.

(pictures from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHI8X4OXluQ)


Along with Asian artists, the Grammys have also been infamous for snubbing Black artists. This year was no exception, as The Weeknd’s critically acclaimed After Hours received zero nominations. With a blend of synth and R&B sounds, After Hours explores the dark side of fame. Despite having the #1 single of the year (“Blinding Lights”), The Weeknd was undeniably snubbed, shocking critics and fans alike.


Quote: “We still know there is a lot of work...to make sure we're completely reflective of all the different genres and people who make up our membership, and make up all the different types of music that we represent." - Harvey Mason Jr., President of The Recording Academy

Learn More Here:


https://pitchfork.com/news/grammys-2021-the-weeknd-and-bob-dylan-surprisingly-absent-from-nominations/


https://variety.com/2020/music/opinion/grammys-black-album-category-1234839546/


https://www.vulture.com/2020/11/2021-grammy-award-nominations-snubs-and-surprises.html


Written by Abel Abraham. Graphics by Jasmine Nguyen and Kaitlyn Nguyen. Click here to see the original post!