Yes, The Grammys Suck (And Have Sucked For Some Time), But Why?

 Prince (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
 Prince (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Grammys suck.

This is neither a new nor a particularly provocative statement. It's not even an opinion. We all know the Grammys suck. We continue to watch, talk, and write about them — hoping with each year that they might suck a bit less — but the slow burn of shitty continues. There is nothing — not Prince being as Black as one can be in a Faygo Orange slipsuit or Beyonce's lightskinned privilege — that can prevent it from happening. It is Anton Chigurh with the stun gun; relentless, unabating, inevitable, final.


But why?

The easy answer here is the music. The show — the music industry's best opportunity to show its best and brightest — is just a reflection of it. If the Grammys suck it's because popular music sucks. I won't disagree with that, but I wonder how much blame we (fans) have to accept.

The Grammys seemed to suck much less 15 years ago. Because the music seemed to suck much less. But we also consumed music much differently. We've evolved, and what we're seeing is them attempting to adapt to us. Trying to devise formulas and crack algorithms to understand what works now and what doesn't anymore. Some are succeeding. Some are not. But all have changed. And, we really can't put too much of the onus on them because this evolution happened faster than our own ability to process it. We are the proverbial shitty partner who's always mad at their mate for not meeting expectations they haven't actually articulated yet. We don't know what we want, but we exist in a state of perpetual underwhelm because they're not providing it. Iggy Azelea exists because, well, we created her, and she — and, by extension, they — sucks because we do right now too.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Royale W. Cheese

Thanks to Black internet I heard that Beyoncé has once again drunkenly veered off into the art lane by performing Precious Lord. It's kind of a disaster whenever she tries to be artistic. Jesus take the wheel and steer her back into pop lane, please.