The Recording Academy announced new rules and guidelines for the Grammy Awards.
The Best Urban Contemporary Album category will be called Best Progressive R&B album. The use of the word urban has been criticized for being inappropriate and a synonym for black music.
The term urban will remain in the Grammys, however, with the Latin Pop album category being changed to Latin Pop or Urban Album. The Latin, Rock Urban or Alternative category has been renamed to Latin Rock or Alternative and the Best Rap/Sung Performance category has been renamed to Best Melodic Rap Performance.
Best New Artist will no longer prevent musicians from entering the category due to having released more than 30 singles or tracks.
Earlier this year, Tyler, the Creator was among the artists to call out the category and say he was torn between winning an award and the fact he disliked the term “urban.” “I’m half and half on it,” he said. “On the one side I am very grateful that what I made can be acknowledged in a world like this… but it sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending or anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category.”
“And I don’t like that ‘urban’ word,” he added. “It’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word, to me. So when I hear that, I’m just like, why can’t we just be in pop? So I felt like – half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment.”
This week, Billie Eilish backed Tyler’s comments. “I hate when people say, ‘Oh, you look like “blank.” You sound like “blank”.’ It was such a cool thing Tyler said. I agree with him about that term,” Eilish said in an interview with GQ.
Billie also agrees with the sentiment of why people say she only won her Grammys because she's white: “Then there’s the other side of this whole thing: people sh*tting on me because I am white. ‘Oh, she’s white, that’s why she won.’ You know what? I agree with the sentiment; I get why people say that.”
The Recording Academy is also introducing changes to the Nominations Review Committee, shortening the amount of time members can be a part of the committee.
The Academy will additionally examine more closely conflicts of interest within its committees.
“We’re constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the Grammy Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry,” Interim President and CEO of The Recording Academy Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement.
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards is set to take place on January 31, 2021.