NEW YORK (AP) — A night of music brimming with shocking setbacks, historic victories, tributes to artists like the late rapper Takeoff and hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, the 65th Grammys were back in full swing on Sunday.
Once again, Beyoncé was in the running for top honors. Once again, the show ended with someone else winning album of the year.
This year was widely seen as a chance for the Grammys to honor the superstar with a marquee, especially on a night when she could have been (and has become) the most decorated artist.
Instead, Harry Styles won, and a line from his acceptance speech stung those who thought Beyoncé should have won.
Here’s what happened, how it’s been perceived, and who picks the Grammy’s top honors.
What’s controversial about Styles’ win?
Styles won for his third album, Harry’s House, and even he seemed surprised when his name was mentioned.
The British pop star competed against other industry giants: acts such as ABBA, Adele, Bad Bunny, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé.
As he accepted the award, he said, “This is really nice. I’m so, so thankful… I’m so… This doesn’t happen often to people like me. And this is so, so nice. Thank you very much.”
The phrase ‘this doesn’t happen to people like me often’ was widely criticized in the hours following his victory.
Born and raised in Northern England, Styles rose to fame in 2010 when he auditioned for the Simon Cowell-led talent show ‘The X Factor’. He came third with the boy band One Direction. His solo career has earned him several Grammys and Billboard albums and singles.
Styles did not say what he meant by his words. Some have interpreted it as trying to express how far he had come from his childhood. Others, however, see the comment as an example of white privilege.
Why are people angry at Styles’ words?
Many fans of Beyoncé are fiercely protective of the singer.
After all, they’re called the Beyhive. Despite Beyoncé’s 32 Grammy wins — the most of any artist in history — many worry that she hasn’t won Album of the Year yet and that she’s lost to white musicians every time she’s been nominated.
Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards, in a story headlined “Beyoncé Just Made Grammy History. Why Does It Feel Like She Still Lost?” wrote that her landmark achievement feels hollow.
“Why doesn’t that feel like enough?” Richards asked. “Because the Recording Academy has routinely failed to recognize black artists at their creative peaks for the past 20 years — and to Beyoncé’s credit for continuing to update that peak with every new album.”
Similar criticisms were leveled in other stories and by online commentators, some of whom noted that a black woman hadn’t won an album of the year since Lauryn Hill in the late ’90s.
Ashley Smalls, a black doctoral student in feminism and pop culture at Penn State University, criticized Styles’ speech in a tweet: “This doesn’t often happen to people like me” when a black woman hasn’t held that award since 1999. won. crazy lol.”
What Is Beyoncé’s Grammy History?
The artist is tied with her husband, Jay-Z, for the most nominations of all time with 88, but she has only won 32 times. Most importantly, Beyoncé has lost album of the year four times to Taylor Swift, Beck, Adele and now Styles.
Beyoncé has been nominated in every one of the most prestigious categories in her decades-long career, but she has only won once in these categories for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).”
A black woman hasn’t won an album of the year since Lauryn Hill received the 1999 award for her breakthrough album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” The last black person to win the award was Jon Batiste, last year for his album We Are.”
Who determines album of the year?
According to Billboard, the Recording Academy has more than 12,000 voting members. The entire membership gets to vote in the four major categories: Best New Artist, Record, Song and Album of the Year. Members are also responsible for nominating in their field and voting for the winners of these categories.
Numerous artists have criticized the way the Grammys nominate artists. The Recording Academy is campaigning to diversify its membership and aims to have 2,500 female members by 2025.
What’s next for Beyoncé and Styles?
Both are going on international tours.
Styles’ next show is in Thailand next week and he’ll be playing shows in Asia and Europe through the summer.
Beyoncé kicks off her ‘Renaissance’ tour in Sweden in May, playing dates in Europe and the United States.