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Recognition of black artists at award shows addressed


     As Black History Month comes to a close and spring is on the horizon, many music awards are on the forefront of the entertainment world: Billboards, VMA’S and AMA’s to name a few. These awards highlight the talent of music artists across the board and recognize both new and established artists alike for their work.  

     There are many different categories under each organization. For the AMA’s, or American Music Awards, there are awards for “Favorite Music Video”, “Favorite Female Pop Artist”, “Favorite Latin Song”, and more that highlight a variety of artists, usually based on

music award trophies.jpeg

Image courtesy of Society Awards

number of plays and popularity with fans. Many categories also feature a range of racial diversity in their selection of winners.

     A large concern many have in the entertainment world is the lack of representation of minority groups. Representation is important, as it allows people to feel seen in their own society and see others like them being successful in different areas. In the music industry, it is especially important to represent a variety of groups, since music is played everywhere and listened to by everyone in some way or another. Whether people specifically listen to artists on Spotify or hear a new song while grocery shopping, music surrounds everything. Since it is Black History Month, I want to address the recognition of black music artists in the AMA’s and beyond. 

     The AMA’s are promising in terms of black artist representation. Last year Drake, The Weeknd, GIVĒON, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X and SZA were some of the top winning black artists across the board. On top of that, there is diversity within the black artists selected in gender and sexual orientation as well. There is a near 50/50 balance between men and women, and Lil Nas X made headlines being the first openly gay black man to make it so far in his music career. I expect this recognition of black talent in all aspects to continue on for years to come, and spread across genres and categories alike. This is great for representation because, as mentioned above, black artists are in the limelight and are a shining example for younger black aspiring artists to see themselves as successful. 

     The recognition of black excellence in music has not always been there. Some of the first black musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke in 1989 ( Chuck Berry specifically is considered the father of rock and roll. However, black people contributed to music across every genre way before 1989. The most well known example of that is the Jazz Age during the 1920’s. This was a time when black musicians developed genres such as jazz and blues and spread it across the US and world. Those genres of music, as well as famous artists from the time, still inspire modern music artists today. However, they don’t often get the credit they deserve for shaping American music.

     I am glad the AMA’s have began a strong streak of recognizing black talent in modern music. I also hope that more black artists are inducted into varying genre’s Hall’s of Fame and get credit for the contribution they make to modern music. Even though Black History Month is almost over, awards organizations should continue to recognize talent in every group of people.

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