African music is finally getting the recognition it deserves on music’s biggest night. This month, The Recording Academy has announced that it has added three new categories for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album, and Best Pop Dance Recording.
Additionally, the existing categories of producer of the year, non-classical and songwriter of the year, non-classical will be moved to the general field — meaning that all Grammy voters will be allowed to vote in those categories, which previously were “craft” or specialized categories, along with engineering, packaging and the like, for which only members working in those areas voted.
“The Recording Academy is proud to announce these latest Category changes to our Awards process. These changes reflect our commitment to actively listen and respond to the feedback from our music community, accurately represent a diverse range of relevant musical genres, and stay aligned with the ever-evolving musical landscape,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists – and relocating the producer of the year and songwriter of the year categories to the general field ensures that all our voters can participate in recognizing excellence in these fields. We are excited to honour and celebrate the creators and recordings in these categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide.”
Now, African acts will be able to showcase the incredible music stemming from the continent on a global scale. According to the Grammys, the Best African Performance category is a track and singles category that recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions, the category includes but is not limited to the Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz genres.
What are your thoughts about the Grammy’s finally adding an African category? Let us know in the comments section below!