LOS ANGELES: Is Beyonce too edgy for the music industry? Or do the Grammy Awards suffer from an underlying racial bias? The superstar’s failure to win top prizes is vexing her many admirers—among them the night’s big winner Adele.
Beyonce had led the Grammy nominations with nine for Lemonade, her most daring album to date, which she crafted as a celebration of the resilience of African American women.
But Beyonce, whose tour was one of the industry’s most lucrative in 2016, took only two awards Sunday, again losing in the leading categories of Album and Record of the Year.
Adele, whose blockbuster album 25 stuck to her trusted style of wrenching ballads, for the second time swept three top Grammys—and she earned praise from Beyonce’s fans for saying that Lemonade deserved to win.
“My view is, kind of, what the fuck does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” Adele told reporters at the Los Angeles gala.
The English singer said that her black friends found Lemonade to be “empowering” and hailed Beyonce’s creativity for intertwining the album with a film.
“Obviously the visual is very new and the Grammys are very traditional, but I just thought that this year would be the year that they would kind of go with the tide,” Adele said.
Adele’s triumph comes a year after Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, hailed as a hip-hop landmark and whose song “Alright” became an anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement, also lost to a best-seller, Taylor Swift’s 1989.
Frank Ocean, the introspective hip-hop trailblazer whose debut album was edged out by in 2013 by English folk revivalists Mumford & Sons, chose not to even submit his follow-up, Blonde, for Grammy consideration.
After Sunday’s awards, Ocean wrote an open letter asking the Grammy organizers to discuss the “cultural bias and general nerve damage” caused by the show.
Ocean, who defiantly released Blonde independently, said he initially wanted to take part in the Grammys for the tribute to late pop icon Prince.
“But then I figured my best tribute to that man’s legacy would be to continue to be myself out here and to be successful,” he wrote.
“Winning a TV award doesn’t christen me successful. It took me some time to learn that.”