Grammys change World Music category to Global Music due to “connotations of colonialism”

The name change seeks to "engage and celebrate the current scope of music from around the world"

03.11.20

Words by: Billy Ward

The Grammy Awards have renamed their Best World Music category to Best Global Music Album to “symbolise a a departure from the connotations of colonialism”.

According to Billboard, the Recording Academy came to the decision on Monday November 2, after speaking with “artists, ethnomusicologists and linguists from around the world who determined that there was an opportunity to update… toward a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term,” a statement read.

“As we continue to embrace a truly global mindset, we update our language to reflect a more appropriate categorisation that seeks to engage and celebrate the current scope of music from around the world,” it added.

“The change symbolises a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk and ‘non-American’ that the former term embodied while adapting to current listening trends and cultural evolution among the diverse communities it may represent,” the academy said.

The name change comes five months after the Grammys decided to drop the term “urban” from their award categories, following backlash from artists such as Tyler, the Creator, and Billie Eilish, who previously spoke out against the category groupings.

After Tyler, the Creator’s experimental 2019 record ‘IGOR’ won Best Rap Album at the start of the year, he labeled it a “backhanded compliment”, reportedly saying: “it sucks that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that’s genre-bending or anything – they put it in a rap or urban category which is – and I don’t like that “urban” word, it’s just a politically correct way to say the ‘N-word’ to me.”

Going forward, the Best Urban Contemporary Album category will be known as the Best Progressive R&B Album.

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