Harry Styles’ 2023 Grammys speech sparks controversy

Harry Styles poses with his GRAMMY awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year for Harrys House in the press room during the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Crypto.com Arena on 5 February 2023 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images)

“Harry’s House” was a big release last year, resulting in several adorable music videos and a world tour that continues in a big way. or another. And with his comment, Styles was likely referring to his industry-unconnected upbringing in a relatively small English town. Or maybe he was referring to his early days in a boy band and his subsequent battle to be taken seriously as a solo artist. But ultimately, the comment failed to acknowledge the artists who repeatedly get snubbed by the Recording Academy – the people who In fact don’t win often.

It’s worth detailing some important numbers: Styles is the 33rd white man to win the Grammy for Album of the Year in the show’s history. So to say that “people like him” don’t often win was a glaring oversight at best. In comparison, eight black men and three black women won in the category. Although she made history this year as the most awarded artist, Beyoncé is widely believed to have been snubbed for album of the year – a category she never won, though. that she has been nominated five times.

This comes at a time when voting groups for awards shows are coming under greater scrutiny. Much like the Golden Globes, which had to go on hiatus in 2022, the Grammys have also faced controversy and criticism in recent years over their lack of diversity and “boys club” culture.

The tenuous nature of award show voting was evident in a series of anonymous interviews Variety conducted with various members of the Recording Academy. Although released before the Grammys, the piece is being aired again in light of Beyoncé’s snub, not least because of one particular voter’s quote: “With Beyoncé, the fact that every time she does something again, it’s a big event and everyone is supposed to be shaking in their place – it’s a bit too damaging.” Even at the top of her game, Beyoncé can’t win.

The flaws in Styles’ commentary offer no excuse to attack his character or diminish his accomplishments as a musician, but it is important to recognize the current imbalance of scales so that artists from widely varying backgrounds are continually recognized. As it stands, wins like these mostly happen for people like Styles, and whether you’re a fan of him or not, that has to change.


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