Music is a universal language that transcends barriers, bringing people together regardless of race, tribe, or culture. African music, often referred to as “Afrobeats,” encompasses multiple genres. However, the Recording Academy’s decision to group us under a single genre and offer only one award category feels like a disregard for our diverse and influential music scene.
Africa is not just one country; it is an emerging market and a continent with over 3 billion people. We should have our own Grammys, similar to Latin America, rather than being confined to a single category. African music and artists should be able to compete on the main stage in various genres and also have their own dedicated Grammy awards.
With over 54 countries and a steadily rising population, African music is making a global impact. Nigerian acts like Davido, Burnaboy, Wizkid, PSquare and many others are selling out venues worldwide. It is disheartening to see the Recording Academy create a category called “BEST AFRICAN MUSIC PERFORMANCE,” implying that our music is niche or limited in its versatility.
Though well intentioned I feel the Recording Academy must as a matter of urgency rethink this and add more categories to represent the different genres of African music instead of doing Africa and African artistes a disservice and grouping them all under one genre/catergory. It’s the same as grouping us all under the world music category, and it belittles the huge impact of African artistes and music is making on the global economy and music world.
For the Grammys to make a real impact as their moniker preaches, Africa deserves its own Grammys, a ceremony that recognizes our diverse genres, sounds, and cultures. Instead of lumping us under one genre, such as “Afrobeats,” which is a misrepresentation, we should have separate categories that celebrate the vibrancy and influence of African music on a global scale.