The Grammy folks think they’re slick, but I’m on to their scheme.
The award show has found a way to market directly to a young, Black demographic while pleasing old, White farts by the end of the program.
The Grammy’s were marketed around Lil’ Wayne, T.I. and the like. We got the Katie Couric special and the big finale from Weezy. As the show rolled on, Hip-Hop fans were becoming increasingly excited over the genre’s presence on the show.
Then, the rug got pulled out from under us. Album of the Year went to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. I haven’t heard their albums so I can’t comment on if they deserve the award or not. In fact, they may even have the best album of the year. Congrats.
My problem is with the award show itself. The show sought to increase viewership by basically promising a big award for the Black artists in order to bring in viewership only to deflate the crowd at the end. But who cares if the audience is pleased? We’ve already sat down and watched for three hours so the ratings are in.
This isn’t the first time the Grammy’s pulled this mess, either. Remember when the Grammy’s was Eminem’s show? He was in a maelstrom of controversy and performed with Elton John. The whole weekend was Em’s. And while Eminem is White, his win would have been a huge moment for rap music as Hip-Hop was finally going to get the coveted Album of the Year award. Three hours later, the award went to Steely Dan, leading to a universal groan of confusion and disappointment from the young Em followers the show targeted during its build-up.
The Grammy committee is walking a very fine line. They’re on their way to doing what wrestling fans call “killing a territory.” In the old NWA wrestling promotion days Ric Flair would go to a town and take on a hometown hero, getting the fans so riled up to see Flair lose the championship only to have Ric somehow find a way to retain his title by the end of the night. At some point, though, fans would get with the program, realize their guy will never win and stop coming to the shows. Thus, the territory would be considered “killed.”
In an already struggling music economy, the Grammys run the risk of killing a territory that spans millions of viewers 25 and younger (while pissing off a ton of Black people in the process). And they only have themselves to blame.