Though music industry vet Steve Stoute and Recording Academy president Neil Portnow vowed to work together to increase diversity at the Grammy awards — as a result of Stoute’s claim that the awards were “losing touch,” it looks hip-hop and R&B artists are losing again.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences made more than 30 modifications to the awards on Wednesday, April 7, a move which Stoute has referred to as “a step in the right direction, but still a Band-Aid on the problem.”
On the contrary, the newly restructured Grammys will be cutting down the amount of hip-hop and R&B awards, eliminating gender distinctions in the R&B categories and merging Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance for a Duo or Group into one category.
By consolidating the male and female R&B awards, they have cut the number of R&B awards presented by half, ensuring that, despite Stoute’s claims, hip-hop and R&B artists will be walking away with even fewer awards next year.
Meanwhile, the classical and American roots music genres have had an equal amount of categories trimmed without the support of a former industry heavyweight, losing four awards in each division.
At the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards earlier this year, Jay-Z won for Best Rap Performance for a Duo or Group for his work alongside Swizz Beatz on the track ‘On to the Next One.’ Eminem won Best Rap Solo Performance for ‘Not Afraid,’ a song off his Best Rap Album win, ‘Recovery.’ According to the recent change in awards categories, only one of the two would have walked away with a golden award under the new revisions had the new categories been put into effect this year