NPR ‘Happy Hour’ Is Furious Beyonce Loses Grammy Awards to ‘Very White’ Artists

News & Politics

Beyonce set a record for having the most Grammy Awards last Sunday, but people looking for racism everywhere were upset that she was “shut out” of the major categories like Album of the Year. It was ironic that one angry rantfest was a National Public Radio show called Pop Culture Happy Hour. They were mad on Monday that “very white” artists kept beating her.

It’s a little hard to claim someone is “better” in judging art, whether it’s movies or music or books. But that can also make it easy to claim that someone who loses is being discriminated against. It’s a vote, so it can be a popularity contest. NPR culture desk correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas was quite upset:

STEPHEN THOMPSON, HOST: We should discuss very briefly the history of Beyonce, particularly in the album of the year category. Her self-titled record, which is maybe my favorite Beyonce record, lost to Beck’s Morning Phase. Her album Lemonade, which — widely considered to be her masterwork, lost to Adele’s 25. And now Renaissance, which, as you guys have said, is just this complete piece and just such a monumental piece of craftsmanship honoring many decades of Black dance music, to have that record lose out to Harry Styles — and, look, I like Harry Styles. None of this is to crap on Harry Styles. But that history of her kind of losing to very safe, very mainstream, very white artists in these main categories really stands out. It just can’t be overlooked.

KIANA FITZGERALD: Yeah. I mean, honestly, it’s something that is being observed over and over again. You know, we’re seeing it happen year after year, album after album. And, you know, at some point, it does become a little bit infuriating, you know, It’s like…

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS: A lot infuriating.


If someone in conservative radio was upset that whites keep losing to “very black” people, you know how that would be received. But reverse the roles, and it’s “racial justice” journalism. And what’s with suggesting that somehow, Beyonce isn’t “very mainstream”? It continued with how black music in general still gets no respect. Seriously. 

FITZGERALD: You know, it’s like, what does she have to do? You know, like, she’s put her personal life on the line. She’s involved, like, communities that have not traditionally been involved in these processes. Not only is she doing this, but she’s doing it to a very high level. And at what point does that become recognized? You know, it’s like – it’s just reflective of the history of this industry, honestly.

TSIOULCAS: For sure. I mean, and obviously, the casting aside of important Black music is fundamental – I think we cannot not talk about that, and we have been – also, very often a casting aside of female artists, especially – you know, it’s OK for them to be good singers and performers, generally – often not recognized as songwriters, as producers. The numbers of female engineers in this business is still, I think, still, as of this year, still below four percent. Like, there are all kinds of ways in which great female talent, including Beyonce, is being ignored. It’s a terrible situation, and it remains so no matter how many times the Grammy institution says no, no, no, we’re on it.

The only entertaining irony in this is that NPR has had its own problems with minority journalists feeling “cast aside” inside NPR. Because it’s fairly easy to accuse companies of systemic racism. Who would feel guiltier than a pile of leftists?

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