Amaarae Criticizes Grammys for African Music Category Consolidation

Amaarae Criticizes Grammys for African Music Category Consolidation

Ghanaian-American singer, Ama Serwah Genfi, also known as Amaarae, has expressed her severe displeasure with the Recording Academy, the organization behind the coveted Grammy Awards. Amaarae was outraged by the decision to group all African music styles into a single category at the prestigious award event.

Amaarae bravely addressed her concerns in a thought-provoking interview with Metro TV, claiming that the Grammys’ merging of numerous African musical genres into a single category was highly “reductive.” She underlined the need of recognizing and appreciating African music’s vast tapestry, which includes a plethora of various genres, each with its own particular cultural relevance and artistic worth.

She said:

The Grammys’ introduction of a category for “Best African Music Performance” sparked some hope in the African music community. Amaarae’s critique, on the other hand, focused light on the inherent limitations of such a broad categorisation.

While the category intended to cover a wide range of African musical expressions, from contemporary beats like Afrobeats and Afro-pop to traditional sounds like High Life and Fuji, Amaarae claimed that the richness and complexity of African music demanded a more nuanced approach.

“The idea of an African category [at the Grammys] is great in practice, but I think it is reductive. There are way too many categories to just placed under an umbrella of African music.
“Take a song like ‘Sad Girlz’, ‘Calm Down,’ or ‘Calm Down’ or ‘Last Last’; these are all songs that didn’t just do well in Africa but did well globally and had humongous global impacts. So, to me, they are popular records.
“So, I feel like a record like [Rema’s] ‘Calm Down’ with the remix with Selena Gomez, that should be able to compete in pop categories [at the Grammys]. I feel like [Burna Boy’s] ‘Last Last’ should be able to compete in hip-hop, RnB or pop categories and not be relegated to just the African category because that’s reductive of the works that [African] artists have done to break boundaries.”

Amaarae underlined the necessity of identifying and honoring the various subtleties within African music, drawing on her own experiences as a boundary-pushing musician. She advocated for unique categories that would allow for a complete investigation and acknowledgement of the enormous variety and depth of African musical talent at the Grammys, calling for a more inclusive and comprehensive representation of African musicians and their respective genres.

Amaarae’s forthright critique has prompted a broader debate within the music industry, forcing musicians, industry experts, and fans alike to reflect on the need of proper representation and equitable recognition for African music at international award ceremonies. Her fervent plea serves as a reminder that the beauty and vibrancy of African music should be embraced in its entirety, rather than being reduced to a single, stereotyped category.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *