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What the Hell Happened: The Grammy Awards Snub Latin Music

Artist Karol G being photographed in 2016.
Artist Karol G being photographed in 2016. By Courtesy of WMXPresents / Wikimedia Commons
By Ava E. Silva, Contributing Writer

As the middle of November comes around, an exciting announcement is often made: the Grammy Award nominations. The Grammy Awards have a legacy of being one of the most prestigious awards in music, but in recent years more musicians have spoken out about the oversights in nominations by The Academy. It appears that the 66th Grammy nominations are no different.

This year, the Grammy’s have a largely female-dominated pool of nominees. SZA leads the pack with 9 nominations, Phoebe Bridgers has 7. Other nominees include Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, Boygenius, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Monét, and Billie Eilish. While many believe that these nominations are well deserved, one can’t help but call out the snubs. Most notably this year, many Latin American artists and albums performed predominantly in Spanish were ignored by the Academy.

Carolina Giraldo Navarro, or Karol G, is a Colombia born música urbana star. She broke through the male-dominated reggaeton genre and since then she has continued to defy the odds. Despite collaborating with many mainstream artists such as J Balvin, Nicki Minaj, and the Jonas Brothers, receiving billboard awards for Top Latin Female Artist and Top Latin Touring Artist, headlining a widely successful North America tour, and releasing a No.1 charting album, Karol G received minimal attention from the Grammys. She received only one nomination for Best Música Urbana Album. However, Karol G’s album, “Mañana Será Bonito,” is much bigger than the genre the Grammys confine it to. Furthermore, as an artist, Karol G has been groundbreaking for feminine empowerment in a largely male-dominated field. Karol G’s music and artistry were largely ignored due to The Academy overlooking Latin American and Spanish-spoken art forms.

Another artist broadly ignored was Guadalajara-born musician, Peso Pluma. Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija, who uses the artist name Peso Pluma, has been breaking barriers left and right. He became the first Mexican regional music artist to perform live on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and the first Mexican artist to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards. He was even featured in a New York Times article dubbing him a “Mexican superstar.” Apart from these accomplishments, Peso Pluma has also crafted a unique form of music by blending traditional styles with modern urban forms, creating a new unique sound for mainstream media. Despite all the firsts Peso Pluma has accomplished and his feats artistically, he was only nominated for a singular Grammy, Best Música Mexicana Album for his album, “Gènesis.” It is especially shocking that he did not receive a nomination for Best New Artist considering many publications have titled him as a prominent developing musician.

It’s important to note that these incidents are not isolated to these two artists. While Bad Bunny, Shakira, and Rosalía did not have albums eligible for submission; they did, however, release new songs, all of which were ignored. This year is only a part of a larger problem within The Academy.

All of these Latin American artists are widely successful in other award circuits such as the Billboard Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and the American Music Awards, but receive minimal recognition from the Grammys. Not only did these artists not receive nominations, but the nods they were given all boxed them in as Latin artists alone, rather than the global groundbreaking entities they are. Of course, these artists’ cultural backgrounds are extremely important to their messages, genre, and artistry, and the language they choose reflects this. Nonetheless, they should be empowered by these choices, not punished by The Academy. They are not simply Latin artists, as the Grammys define them, they are global superstars.

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