The Recording Academy is exploring the possibility of creating a category that will further celebrate Afrobeats music, the Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., reveals.
According to Mr. Harvey, the Recording Academy brass “just had a meeting literally about six or seven days ago with leaders from the Afrobeats community” to discuss the potential move to acknowledge, celebrate, and honor creatives who continue to contribute to the mainstream success of Afrobeats music at successive editions of the GRAMMYS. He made this revelation while speaking to the local press at the Global Citizens Festival in Ghana on Saturday (Sept. 24).
“We had a virtual listening session where we heard from Afrobeats creators and just talked about ‘What are the different subgenres? What are the needs? What are the desires?,’” he adds. “And my goal is to represent all genres of music, including Afrobeats, at the Grammys.”
Mason emphasizes in the video that the decision is far from final. “I don’t decide on categories,” he says. “The categories are determined by member proposals.” Members can request an Afrobeat category by saying, ‘Harvey, I want an Afrobeat category…’ So that process has begun. I believe the listening session last week was very important, very valuable, and a step in that direction.”
Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon. Artists like Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, and many others have pushed the genre passed Africa making it one of the world’s leading genres in music. The mainstream success of genre has since helped build an important bridge connecting African music genres with American audiences, specifically Black Americans.
In recognition of this success, Billboard recently launched a U.S. Afrobeats song chart. The Recording Academy also the awarded the first-ever Best Global Music Performance GRAMMY, which honors a song by a global artist.