Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Recording Academy Changes Grammy’s ‘Urban Contemporary’ Category to ‘Progressive R&B’

Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu (Photo Credit: Twitter.com)

*The Recording Academy has announced a renaming and redefining to the “Best Urban Contemporary Album” label for the Grammys.

The category, which was added to the award show in 2012, will now be known as “Best Progressive R&B Album.”

“I’m excited to announce our latest changes, as we’re constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the GRAMMY Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry,” Harvey Mason Jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Academy, said in a press release on Wednesday. “The Academy accepts proposals for rule changes from members of the music community throughout the year that are carefully reviewed and, if accepted, ultimately ratified at our annual Board meeting, a process that we are proud to have continued in this challenging year.”

He added,  “Each year, we receive a number of rule change proposals from artists, producers, and songwriters asking us to reevaluate our process. We’re constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the Grammy Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry, Harvey Mason Jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “

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In an official statement, The Recording Academy said the newly named category should “highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music.”

As reported by thejasminebrand.com, this change comes after several Black artists noted that the word “Urban” was an inappropriate term used to describe Black music.

Erykah Badu previously rejected the “urban” artist label. In a post on Instagram, the singer/songwriter wrote: “I’m not a r n b / hip hop artist or an urban artist. I’m an Artist. I’m a musician. If you plan to write about me or my music take us out of those categories. If not .. We good. Peace.”

 Tyler The Creator has also called out The Recording Academy for also labeling Black artists as “urban”.

“On one side I’m very grateful that what I made could be acknowledged in a world like this. But it also sucks that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that’s genre-bending or anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category. And I don’t like that urban word. It’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word to me,” he stated.

The 63rd Grammy Awards show is scheduled to take place January 31st 2021.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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