Slavery was abolished on December 6, 1865. Just over sixty years later, in 1926, “Negro History Week” was introduced. This slowly became a national celebration where communities would honor the successes of Black Americans. It was not until the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, where a “Black History Month” was even mentioned. Eventually, in 1976 President Gerald R. Ford of cially recognized the month of Fenruary as “Black History Month” . Just over forty years later, here we are, and we now have a president who has regards it as “National African American History Month,” because he feels that calling it “Black History Month” is outdated and that this new name is more politically correct. While some agree with this new name, there are many who do not agree with it and for good reason. While President Trump’s “National African American History Month” is problematic, this is something that has been said by a few former presidents, as well. While discrimination against Black people has been and still is an issue, in almost all aspects of a Black person’s life, one thing that can influence the way a country can view Black people is the media.
One show that has been going on since 1959 is the Grammy Awards, which celebrates people who have outstanding success in primarily the English language music industry. While this show only began to be aired live in 1971, it is clear that there has not been much change in who they have been awarding the Grammys to. When looking at the top ten people with the most GRAMMY awards, only two of them are non-white and they place in seven and eight. Stevie Wonder holds seventh place, and Beyoncé in eighth.
While this may not be obvious to some people, it is obvious to many. Marymount Manhattan College junior Jahmorei Snipes states, “I definitely feel like the Grammys caters mostly to white artists, all around. I mean, the last black woman to win album of the year was Lauryn Hill, in 1999.” And for the Grammy’s this year, there has been a lot of talk about Adele winning the Album and the Year Record over Beyoncé, who had not only just released an album, but a visual album to go with it on Tidal, a subscription- based music streaming website. Adele’s album, 25, did sell a lot more copies than Lemonade, at about eight million copies as of February, and Lemonade, with only about two million copies sold. These numbers may be rather low for Lemonade considering how it was first released on Tidal, and has gotten over 306 million streams since its release. Considering the numbers, had Beyoncé released only an album, maybe it would have gotten a higher number sold. It also has to be considered is that it isn’t just the number of the albums sold, but also that while both woman released albums in 2016, Beyoncé also released a visual album, something that is a lot of added work in addition to creating an album. But in the end, was it really all this – the numbers and the amount of work put into this album that causes some uncertainty as to how Adele won both Album of the Year and Record of the Year.
Well, looking at Adele’s speech when she was awarded Record of the Year where she mentioned how she found Beyoncé to be her idol and then during her speech when she was awarded Album of the Year, Adele had mentioned how she was shocked she was awarded it and thought that it was something that she thinks Beyoncé should have won. And then once the cameras had started rolling, she split the award in half, one half for her and the other for Beyoncé. This speech affected a lot of people, including people in the MMC community. Senior Samantha Terry stated, “I really loved Adele’s speech dedicating her Grammy to Beyoncé…”
With the response that Adele had given in regards to her awards, it is clear that Beyoncé’s album is rather important considering it was about the Black voice and the struggles a black person goes through that is misunderstood by the rest of society. Not only that, but the United States tends to favor the physical looks of those of a white complexion. Because of this, it makes it difficult for anyone else to fit these standards, which includes black people. Beyoncé knows this occurs and was hoping that this album would remind black people that they are beautiful and capable of living in a white-controlled society, can break those barriers, and succeed in their dreams. While Adele’s album was very moving for some, it was not as meaningful as Beyoncé’s album is, especially for a group of people that are continuously discriminated against, including at the Grammys. “As an artist and a woman of color myself, it’s so disheartening to see. Will my work ever be recognized? Will the work of my friends ever be recognized?” shared senior Dana Rand.