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Grammys postponed amidst COVID-19 concerns and ongoing backlash

The 2021 Grammy Awards have been postponed due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 and backlash on the diversity of this year’s nominations.

Originally scheduled for January 31st, this year’s Grammy Awards have been postponed to March 14th due to the ongoing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

Compared to previous years, the event will be vastly scaled-down, not only in attendance but in the level of production and entertainment that the Awards is known for. The in-person crowd will be limited to Trevor Noah, who is set to host the night, category presenters, and performing artists, while all nominated artists will appear remotely.

Dua Lipa

Considering the state that the USA is currently in, it’s understandable that the Awards have been postponed. However, this year’s ceremony has been drawing headlines for a number of other reasons.

Since the nominations were announced late last year, many high-profile artists have spoken out against the “corrupt” system, including The Weeknd, Lil Wayne, and Ellie Goulding. Drake and Tyler, The Creator have echoed similar criticisms, calling out the Academy for their lack of inclusivity.

Earlier this week, Best Children’s Album nominees Alastair Moock & Friends, Dog on Fleas, and The Okee Dokee Brothers withdrew from the Awards to protest the lack of diversity in their category.

“We are deeply grateful to the Recording Academy and its voting members for the honor we’ve received, but we can’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has — both this year and historically — so overlooked women, performers of colors, and most especially Black performers,” the three groups wrote in a combined statement.

“In the past 10 years, only about 6% of nominated acts have been Black-led or co-led, another 8% or so have been non-Black-POC-led, and around 30% have been female-led. These numbers would be disappointing in any category, but—in a genre whose performers are uniquely tasked with modeling fairness, kindness, and inclusion; in a country where more than half of all children are non-white; and after a year of national reckoning around race and gender—the numbers are unacceptable.”

It’s still unclear whether the awards will officially remove the three or not but, as of this past Monday (the last day of voting), the artists were still included on the list of nominees.

However, on some levels, this year’s Grammy nominations were a milestone for diversity. Women absolutely dominated across a number of categories such as Pop, Country, and Best Rock Performance, which for the first time in its history, has an all female line-up.