This is certainly Jay Z’s year! On Tuesday morning, it was announced that the rapper garnered a whopping eight Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year for 4:44.
This is the first time the father of thee’s name landed in the coveted category, so what changed? Was 4:44 that stellar of an album? The answer, instead, might rest in the hands of last year’s Grammy upset when Adele took home Album of the Year over his wife, Beyonce.
Yonce’s album, Lemonade, was more than just a fantastic listen. It included an entire visual story, which is why folks thought the progressive project should have beat out Adele. But that wasn’t the case.
“There have only been two Black winners in the last 20 years for Album of the Year,” Solange tweeted following Beyonce’s loss. “There have been over 200 Black artists who have performed. Create your own committees, build your own institutions, give your friends awards, award yourself and be the gold you wanna hold my g’s,”
Last year’s controversy became just another example of how the annual awards show lacked inclusion in nominees and winners. So what happened next? The Recording Academy listened, made sweeping changes which went into effect this year and now, Jay Z is on top.
Of the several changes, the Academy created “review committees” which according to the academy’s SVP would “override the popular vote to focus on what is really the best.”
Jay Z is well deserving of his multiple nominations, but without an uproar on social media, the years of conference calls with industry professionals about the names that should have been held in higher regard, or aggressive reaction by fans and celebrities, Jay might not have received such acknowledgment.
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