Grammy's is renaming its Urban Category to What?

Grammy's is renaming its Urban Category to What?

Grammy's is renaming its Urban Category to What?

How does 'Best Progressive R&B Album' sound?

How does 'Best Progressive R&B Album' sound?

Text: Hailee Milton

After receiving high-profile criticism from artists Tyler the Creator, Billie Eilish, and more, The Recording Academy has made the decision to discard the term “urban." In a public acceptance speech last season, Tyler expressed how much it hurt when guys that look like him “do anything genre-bending” and get written off and put in the rap or “urban” category. The term has been "urban" criticized for being an outdated way to group and generalize music from a variety of Black artists.

Just last week, Eilish echoed a similar statement to Tyler in an interview with British GQ. “I hate when people say, ‘Oh, you look like ‘blank.’ You sound like ‘blank.’ It was such a cool thing Tyler said. I agree with him about that term. Don’t judge an artist of the way someone looks or the way someone dresses.” She then reminds us, “Wasn’t Lizzo in the Best R&B category that night? I mean, she’s more pop than I am.”

Interim President and CEO Havey Mason Jr. told Variety, “It’s something we’ve been discussing for a couple of years... A lot of creators and people in that genre didn’t like that description and felt it pigeonholed certain styles of music." Heeding concerns, the 'Best Urban Contemporary Album' has been renamed 'Best Progressive R&B Album.' The definition of this category includes more progressive elements of R&B. Anywhere from hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music, to incorporated elements found in pop, country, rock, folk, and alternative are included. Undoubtedly a more inclusive category than before, Republic Records has also vowed to no longer use the word "urban" do describe their musicians or genres.

In tune with the changes, updates to the Best New Artist category, Latin, R&B, and Rap Fields have also been made. In addition, per the Nominations Review Committees, the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines book will be publicly available for the first time—with the 63rd installment approaching this February. 

In order to flip a new chapter in their history, The Recording Academy is listening, learning, pivoting, adapting, and hoping to constitute a real change to be more inclusive.

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