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66th Grammy Awards: Afrobeats is now part of pop music – Grammy CEO

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66th Grammy Awards: Afrobeats is now part of pop music - Grammy CEO

Afrobeats will be recognised in its own category at Sunday’s prestigious Grammy Awards since it has become “part of pop music,” according to the awards’ creator.

Harvey Mason Jr. said he is “excited” that the Best African Music Performance category has been included.

The nominated musicians are Tyla, Ayra Starr, Burna Boy, and Davido.

While their work is lauded, some critics believe an award for African music should have been included years ago.

Ian Brennan, a Grammy-winning record producer who has worked with a number of African singers, told the BBC that while this was “progress,” it was “long overdue.”

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African performers have previously won Grammy awards. Miriam Makeba of South Africa was the first to win the Best Folk Recording award in 1966 for her collaboration with Harry Belafonte. There have been several more, notably Nigerian Burna Boy, who won Best Global Music Album in 2021.

However, Mr. Brennan believes that the Grammys have long overlooked music from the region.

“There are no African artists in the Lifetime Achievement Award area of the Grammys,” he said.

Mr. Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, told the BBC’s Newsday programme that the decision to include an Africa-specific award was made because music from the continent is now “prevalent everywhere in the world.”.

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In 2021, he became the first black person in charge of the Grammy Awards, and he has worked to better portray the diversity of popular music.

He stated that the awards, one of the most prestigious music awards, traditionally recognise American music.

However, he acknowledged that the awards are “fluid, adjusting, and pivoting” and that they are attempting to embrace music from outside of the West.

Burna Boy will play at this year’s Grammys ceremony in Los Angeles, becoming the first Afrobeats act to do so.

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