The Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr disclosed that the academy has begun the arduous process of introducing an Afrobeats category to the Grammys while addressing the media at the Global Citizens concert in Ghana.
Harvey during the interview disclosed that they have kicked off the process by meeting with the key players and creatives that includes artists, producers, songwriters, and executives in the Afrobeats genre.
“We just had a meeting literally about six or seven days ago with leaders of the Afrobeats community. We had a listening session, a virtual listening session where we heard from Afrobeats creators to talk about ‘what are the different subgenres, what are the needs, what are the desires,’ and my goal is to make sure we represent all genres of music including Afrobeats at the Grammys,” he told the Ghanian press.
He further revealed that the members of The Academy will have to submit a proposal for the mission to go into effect. However, they had a listening session and that was the first step. “But it has to be done properly. I don’t decide categories. The categories are decided by proposals submitted by members. So the members can say, ‘Harvey, I want a Afrobeats category,’ they write a proposal, it comes into the academy, it gets voted on then we’ll have it. That process is started now. I think the listening session last week was very important. It was very valuable and a step towards that path,” Mason continued.
Artists like Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, and many others have pushed the genre passed Africa making it one of the world’s leading genres in music.
While “Afrobeats” is primarily a description Nigerian and Ghanaian mainstream music, the West have frequently confused it to refer to any sound emanating from sub-Saharan Africa. The implication is that South African musical subgenres including House, Amapiano, and Kwaito may be categorized as Afrobeats. The same may be said for Congolese music, such as the Soukous or the East African Singile.
These could all go up for a nomination at the Grammys, so it is best for the Academy to correctly define the key components of an Afrobeats song, which will be the first step in properly recognizing the best songs, regardless of where they were produced.