Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Lemonade Didn’t Win Album Of The Year Because White People Don’t Know How To Not Be White People

I chose not to watch the Grammys last night. Not because of any type of protest or performative apathy, but because my wife had a work-ish commitment that left me with my daughter all weekend, and it’s impossible to get any writing done when the Feminist Octopus is around. Sunday evening from 8pm to 2am was the only time I had to finish a chapter I wanted to complete by the end of the week.

I did, however, take a brief break to watch Beyonce’s performance live. It was a spectacle. Depending on your perspective, it was either sublime or self-consciously overindulgent. (Or both.) Either way, there could be no doubt in anyone’s mind that, whether you personally believe Beyonce merits this type of reverence and attention, we were watching the person considered by the people in the room to be The Most Important Person In The Room.

This is a status Beyonce has possessed since the surprise December 2013 release of Beyonce and cemented last year with Lemonade. Of course, there are those who’ve attempted to qualify her position as one that only exists within some sort of Black American (and specifically Black female American) bubble; citing other artists who perhaps match or surpass her in album sales, touring revenue, and critical hardware — a tired and transparently racist effort to somehow minimize the fact that the music industry’s HNIC is 1) a Black woman and 2) a Black woman whose art, while racially transcendent, is speaking directly to and created specifically for Black women.

There can also be no rational doubt that Lemonade — the biggest and most ambitious album from the world’s biggest artist — dominated 2016. And its sovereignty didn’t just extend to the airwaves. Its extended and mysterious rollout, the paralyzation of time that occurred when it debuted, the visual art accompanying it, the conversations and conspiracy theories spawned from it, the critical assessments of it (and the conversations about who was “allowed” to even assess it), the myriad interpretations of its lyrics, themes, and imagery — its cultural supremacy was total. Shit, there are fucking syllabi devoted to both understanding Lemonade’s context and using it as a springboard for an education on womanism.

And it losing out to Adele’s 25 — a nice and decent and popular album from a nice and decent and popular woman — last night was a message:

“Your best doesn’t matter here”

Perhaps this message was unintentional. Maybe they just believed that 25 was just better. A better representative of the year in music. A bigger success. A more important album. But even a lack of malicious intent does nothing but reinforce the concept of pervasive invisibility. That we could be on their stage, defying gravity and time and age and common sense while waving our pregnant-as-fuck bellies in their faces — with our cute-ass-fuck babies serving as our impromptu hype men — and they still don’t see us.

To her credit, Adele did what she could to acknowledge this invisibility in her acceptance speech. (And, for the record, I get why people may have been turned off by that. But isn’t this exactly what we ask White people who claim to be friends and allies to do? To acknowledge their privilege and use their status and position to call out other White people? Perhaps she didn’t communicate it as best she could, but those types of heartfelt appreciations — particularly ones existing in a cultural and racial minefield — are rarely perfect. I’m not sure what else she could have done or said.) But it’s little consolation for the inescapable reality of the moment.

Naturally, there are going to be people who’ll use this as more proof of why we (Black people) need to stop depending on the Grammys and the Oscars and the Emmys and other similar types of awarding for validation — a predictable ask for self-empowerment that seems logical but is inherently faulty. Because its recognition, not validation, that is sought. Validation exists to fill an internal deficit. Recognition is ultimately just desiring a level playing field and concretized rules that apply to everyone and make sense. In this context, it’s demanding that White people somehow remove their goggles of Whiteness and allow themselves to see what’s right in front of their fucking faces. Not just for our sake, or even their’s specifically, but just so they’ll maybe possibly finally get things right.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • HouseOfBonnets
  • KNeale

    You’ve changed my opinion. Before I wasn’t trippin because I believe they were just trying to not let her dominate the awards so they wouldn’t be criticized. But you summed up pretty good in a couple paragraphs how impactful Lemonade was. As for Adele, I think folks need to get off her back (I didn’t know folks was on it but I see now they are!) She doesn’t give the awards she’s another artist. And she is a great artist and I love that she spent all the time to say what an impact Beyonce had on her and her friends. I feel like that sent a bigger message.

    • DocMaldo

      I agree. I would argue that we are not used to such out-sized public displays of allegiance and solidarity from whites and as such, there’s no script or playbook by which to compare. I have always appreciated Adele for her blunt observations that she so casually shares, often unsolicited and on the fly. To me, it adds authenticity.

      Plus, since she did win, it was her few minutes to hold the audience hostage – kudos to her for dropping hard and uncomfortable truths…like that drunk uncle who has you over for a bbq at his house, then calls everyone out on their ish. Gotta love it!

  • She dropped the most critically acclaimed album of the year and lost to an album with one memorable song.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Also say hello to every baby shower theme for the remainder of 2017:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/775b3f049f825bd680e63b720f8248866003f5e75ca82fe2b858d02f38d0f0cc.gif

    • miss t-lee

      The devil is a lie.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        It’s gonna happen petty mentor I can see the ig picstitches now…… Ain’t gonna be no gold wrapping paper and sequins for miles ????

        • miss t-lee

          I rebuke this.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            It’s going to happen just get your gift cards ready to send via post or email so you can avoid it. ???

            • miss t-lee

              LMFAO

      • She was visibly shaking when it leaned all of the way back. #Doingtoomuch

        • miss t-lee

          I was just hoping they ain’t drop her.

          • Jay needed to give her the look that spouses give each other when they are too hot. Like Steph should’ve given Ayesha during the finals.

            • miss t-lee

              Totally…lol

            • HouseOfBonnets

              Ayesha not allowed to sit courtside anymore because of that foolery.

          • grownandsexy2

            My niece and I were just sharing stories about being pregnant and fragile. Pregnant women aren’t as fragile as we think. (Well some aren’t) I slipped on some slick rain while 8 months pregnant. Fell flat on my stomach. On thing hurt was my feelings and torn up stockings. lol My niece shared that she was so huge she “rolled” off the back door of a bus” and kept rolling. lol

            • SororSalsa

              My mom refused to have her picture taken when she was pregnant with me, but I love the stories I’ve heard about her tipping over, falling off the curb, etc. because she was all belly and no hips. How she couldn’t drive after 6 months because by the time she put the seat back far enough to get her stomach in, her feet wouldn’t reach the gas pedal. I live through those stories. Lol

              • grownandsexy2

                ” by the time she put the seat back far enough to get her stomach in, her feet wouldn’t reach the gas pedal.”

                That’s the reason my niece was on the bus. lol

            • miss t-lee

              I understood that the preggo ladies aren’t fragile, but it still makes me anxious…lol

              • Nik White

                And why risk anything when it took you so long to conceive?

                • miss t-lee

                  Agreed.

                • HoneyRose

                  There’s no real evidence that Beyonce took a while to conceive, other than some unknown “insider” whose story has been published in all the questionable gossip mags. That said, what is she supposed to do? You expose a fetus to risk every time you step in a car. We don’t know what the rig-up of her setup was. It seems to be that she did a pretty conservative show – not a lot of moving and dancing. Still, as soon as I saw it I said “folks gonna start concern trolling Beyonce about how she shouldn’t have leaned back in a chair pregnant.”

                  • Nik White

                    I read it somewhere but apparently she has a praying grandmother (insert Helen Baylor song).

                  • Junegirl627

                    well she had 2 miscarriages before blue

        • Cleojonz

          I was so scared for her and those babies. She could fart in a paper bag and the people would still love her. She didn’t have to do all this lol.

        • pls

          Funny. I thought people would be unimpressed and claim she didn’t do anything but sit there the whole time. It was a great stunt for the simple fact she was pregnant, don’t think anyone would be talking if she weren’t. I’m a stan and I thought it was a bit too much when she stared at the camera and spun in a circle between love drought and sandcastles. that was awkward af lol

      • KNeale

        Someone is going to die tryna recreate this.

        • miss t-lee

          It’s gonna be Mimi and the shower rod all over again.

          • Jae Starz

            I’m crying real tears over here.

            • miss t-lee

              You know it.

    • Jae Starz

      I will walk out of any and every baby shower.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        I don’t blame you especially when they recreate the chair moves with the baby godparents ???

        • DocMaldo

          Ha! Or the chair does move all on its own…cause you know neither her or the father ain’t right and that baby she is carrying is a shepherd for the damn devil. Black Jesus, be a fence!

        • Jae Starz

          They need to leave that isht alone. Mess around and fall out that chair right into early labor.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            It’s going to happen I’m just warning y’all ???

            • Cleojonz

              At Coachella. They better not lean a chair back there. She’ll be 7 months pregnant by then.

          • Sweet Ga Brown

            *Cackles

      • miss t-lee

        You and me both.

        • Junegirl627

          stock up on allegra if you have allergies and you need to up your white maxi dress game this summer because it is going to be the dress code of the babyshower, bridal shower, wedding circuit this spring/summer

          • miss t-lee

            Nope.

            • Junegirl627

              lol

            • Nik White

              *heads off to tell bridal party not to even think about it *

              • miss t-lee

                LMAO

          • HoneyRose

            Nope. That’s a perfect reason to skip a baby shower! Ain’t got one.

      • With the gift(s).

        • Jae Starz

          Every last one because they wasted my damn time!

      • Junegirl627

        I was mad at the amount of allergy meds I was gonna need after the photo shoot, lol

        • Jae Starz

          It gave me allergies. Was fine all my life, all of a sudden I’m sneezing. It’s unnecessary.

    • Courtney Wheeler

      Yeah…I was afraid of that…..

    • PinkRose

      I personally thought the chair move was dumb and reckless.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        You and me both because that chair could have came from ikea ???

      • Phil GoBeGreat

        I said the same thing… thats too much. Because GOD forbid there be a technical malfunction. Would be worse than MJ’s hair debacle.

        • HoneyRose

          There’s a level of risk inherent in everything. Beyonce’s always struck as someone who values her safety and pregnancy; I’m sure that her chair was safer than your average car.

    • Tam

      Hahaha. Well on the upside some persons who may have a whole ton of kids my fall and then that would be the end of their child bearing years. Yes I know it is cruel but…

    • BatmansExWife

      Nice visual, but my eyes were glued to the suspensions holding her. Super scared. Good thing for physics

    • pls

      Love drought was really beautiful live. I wish I knew more about the spirituality that is referenced here.

    • NonyaB?

      Ratchet styling director HOB outchea dropping the fashion forecast for the trillest.

  • Lara

    I love Martha and the Vendellas, Etta James and some of the other black singers of that time period. Beyoncé is not in their league. She is too full of herself and too self important. Black women can great performers when they are trying to appeal to white people. When they stop caring, like Beyoncé obviously has, they lose their unique charm.

    • Anonymous

      Becky, you may go.

      • Courtney Wheeler
      • HouseOfBonnets

        I wasn’t gonna say nothing because Damon said be cool on the troll feeding

        • Tam

          I was hoping they found a way to ban her permanently.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            I turned my location on her last time…. She better stop playing with her mama WiFi like this ????

            • Tam

              The last time she turned up she had me praise breaking, praying and speaking in tongues in an effort NOT to respond to her. I am usually good at ignoring but that one was drawing me.

        • KNeale

          Oh I didn’t know she was a regular troll. Oops my bad.

          • Tam

            She has turned up recently

            • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

              And she can’t be blocked.

    • KNeale

      “Black women can great performers when they are trying to appeal to white people. When they stop caring, like Beyoncé obviously has, they lose their unique charm.”

      Huh?!?!?!? Black women are only good enough when they appeal to white people? You just typed those words and hit post and I just read them and….huh?!?!? what?!?!?!?

      • Lara

        I think when black performers attempt to appeal to white people, they restrain some of their over the top tendencies. The combination of musical discipline, with black voice and style can be sublime. There were many talented black performers back in the 1960’s. There really aren’t any great ones anymore. Beyoncé had some decent stuff years ago, but she has not impressed me for a long time now.

    • Jeanne Deaux

      Your existence embarrasses me. Crawl back under your rock kthx.

    • Cheech

      Troll, folks. Downvote and move on.

    • Rewind4ThatBehind

      Your life in a nutshell

      http://i.imgur.com/NAvvzch.gif

      • Tam

        Rewind. Just ignore this thing. At this point I think she trolls just for her amusement.

        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          Yea but we are pretty good trolling right back.

          • Tam

            Sometimes it’s not worth it. And that one is a lost cause

      • Cheech
        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          Exactly!

          Cheech gets me

          • Tam

            You didn’t need encouragement

            • Rewind4ThatBehind

              I don’t. You know how I am.

      • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

        I want to make one of those

        • Tam

          That can NOT be good.

        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          Let’s just start a DIY podcast where we create weird sh*t for the sake of messing with someone’s day.

  • kingpinenut

    “In this context, it’s demanding that White people somehow remove their goggles of Whiteness and allow themselves to see what’s right in front of their fucking faces. Not just for our sake, or even their’s specifically, but just so they’ll maybe possibly finally get things right.”

    White folks have to change for their *own* sake…it’s the *only* way to get something possibly right.

    Their well being is directly related to the well being of everyone else on this planet. When they do right by others, they’re doing right period.

  • SimplePseudonym

    I think people are mixing up the difference between *music* awards and *music video* awards. Lemonade’s visual album was amaaaaazing- however, without the visuals to connect me to the songs, I’m sure that I wouldn’t like the album. The songs are hella mediocre, but it’s the connection to the music video that made the songs powerful and relevant to me. Adele, on the other hand, doesn’t need the “visual album” gimmick b/c her song and lyrics can stand on their own.

    • 25 was completely forgettable outside of Hello.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        And probably all I ask because that song hits you in the feels.

      • Anonymous

        And, for me, Hello was also pretty mediocre and contrived.

        • Phil GoBeGreat

          Nah, Hello will stand the test of time. The emotions it evokes is what draws people to it, along with very powerful (studio) vocals.

          • Anonymous

            I’m sure it will. That doesn’t mean the song isn’t mediocre and contrived. SEE: such timeless mediocre and contrived classics as “You Light Up My Life” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.” The latter is actually my jam, but let’s be honest…

            • Junegirl627

              “my heart will go on” just to piggyback

          • Bob Sacamano

            Something can be both evocative and contrived. “Hello” is evidence of this.

        • Cheech

          Hello … All Night ….
          I feel that the spirit of Lionel Richie may have stalked this Grammys.

    • miss t-lee

      “I think people are mixing up the difference between *music* awards and *music video* awards. Lemonade’s visual album was amaaaaazing- however, without the visuals to connect me to the songs, I’m sure that I wouldn’t like the album.”

      You saved me some typing.
      It’s about the music.

      • SimplePseudonym

        Yup. Actually, when I watched “Lemonade” the first time and then tried listening to the album on my way to work the next day, I realized that I’d been duped. But then respected Beyonce’s hustle and genius in staying relevant. I feel like she maxed out creatively in terms of music content and style and these “visual albums” are a way to compensate. and, given how much I’ve listened to the album since, I realize and respect the genius in this tactic. I looooooooove “Lemonade” despite the songs being “Meh.”

        However, I also respect the Grammy judges’ ability to see through the smoke and mirrors and keep it about the music.

        • Question

          I can’t decide if she’s maxed out creatively or if people just aren’t willing to see her in another vein; but I’m thinking its the latter. The truth is, if she does anything other than pop hits and video choreography, people are going to call her pretentious, self-absorbed, narcissistic etc.

          • SimplePseudonym

            My feeling has always been that she needs better song writers. She is a great singer and can convey emotion in her voice, but her team chooses to place all energies on maxing out on her shock talents (the screech-singing when she has such great range from low to high, the over-the-top visual performances, the fashion) rather than adding tools to actually make her music greater (get a great live band, get better song writers). This is evident in the fact that given how great of a singer Beyonce is, she doesn’t have that many hit ballads.

            • KNeale

              Your comment is weird. Her band is phenomenal.

              • grownandsexy2

                Indeed.

            • KNeale

              And you thought the lyrics on Lemonade were subpar?

              • SimplePseudonym

                I thought the music in general was subpar. Weak lyrics have always been Beyonce’s weakness. The great “lyrics” in “Lemonade” that I liked were mostly from the video and were readings of Warsan Shire poems that have been out for years. I loved “Freedom,” but that’s one song. What great lyrics do you remember from Lemonade?

                • Madam CJ_Skywalker

                  eh…Idk about that. She has been working with the “top” r&b/pop writers for the past two albums.
                  One of the biggest criticisms I hear about her was the fact that she doesn’t write her own stuff like in her DC days, or has this (criticism) changed?

            • Leggy

              A great live band? I’m sorry. Do you even know Beyoncé?

              • SimplePseudonym

                That’s true, now that I think about it. I do like her band. I’ll take that back. All of the other stuff stands, though. Her team is not delivering on her actual talent of singing, IMO. and her lyrics are blah. and I say this as a huuuuuuuuuge Beyonce fan- seen her in concert and everything. I like her actual music less and less, but with these visual albums and deeper themes, I like the overall projects more. HOWEVER, these were music awards, not project/compensation awards. In my opinion.

                If you like it, I love it, though. I do agree that if Beyonce was better on the charts, she should have won. That’s a better argument than us arguing opinions of music taste. What were Beyonce’s and Adele’s respective album sales? Isn’t that the major basis of these awards anyway? Or is that Billboard awards? [shrugs]

                • Leggy

                  Oh now we move the goal post yet again to sales. I thought you said it was all about the music and you’re glad that they’re sticking to it. So now it’s sales?

                  • SimplePseudonym

                    hahaha. Oh, I can stick to the music. I think it’s mediocre. Said it before, still believe it. I just said that I do like her band, when I think of it, so took band out of the suggestion on how to do better and left the rest.

                    ^This is what happens when people don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing, but actually engage in dialogue for the exchange of ideas rather than just hearing yourself argue the point you want to argue- I know, it happens rarely, so hard for you to recognize. I thought about it and said, “Hey, you know..I can agree with you on that point.” Why you coming for me so hard?

                    The sales mention was me giving an example of an argument in favor of Beyonce that I would actually make me change my opinion on the matter. I’m not moving the goal post. I’m doing what is called “thinking.” In discussing this, the first thing we all have to know is what exactly are the Grammys grading? Is it album sales or is it artistry? If it’s the first, then deciding the winner is cut and dry. If it’s the second, it’s just taste and preference, then it’s more worthy of debate.

                    • Leggy

                      How are you now just deciding what the grading is when you were so sure what that it is absolutely about the music and you were just praising them for sticking to just the music.

                      If you were such a Beyoncé fan that band comment would have never come up.

                      But sure Jan.

                      I’m not going to agree to disagree. I just absolutely disagree. Have a good day.

                    • SimplePseudonym

                      You need a chill pill. Seriously.

                    • Leggy

                      So do you.

              • Ra

                ROTFL

                Things that make you go…Sure after reading an opinion. I live for the backflips.

            • HoneyRose

              Sis…Beyonce has a bunch of hit ballads. One of the first songs that put her on the map as a solo artist, “Dangerously In Love,” was a ballad. After that her hits include “Resentment,” “If I Were A Boy,” “Halo,” “Best Thing I Never Had,” “Flaws and All,” and “Rocket.” She’s had 1-2 power ballads from each album, and this isn’t even including the midtempo songs that showcase her voice like “XO” and “Me, Myself, and I”

              I’m not even a Beyonce super-stan or anything…but girl can sing. And she sounds great live.

              • SimplePseudonym

                Right 1-2 per album. I think she’/ a great singer with range and 1-2 ballads/album isn’t maximizing on that talent.

                I feel like people are taking my commentary to mean I think Beyoncé is trash. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just making the point that the actual music in “Lemonade” was not that fantastic that she should have been a shoe-in as the winner for album of the year, as is implied by the article. Visually it was out-of-this-world, but musically it was okay. IMO.

        • miss t-lee

          The songs are very meh. Folks ain’t tryna to hear that though.
          Outside of “Formation” and “Sorry” I was bored.

          • I liked “All Night”.

            • Junegirl627

              loved all night. It is literally forgiveness set to music.

          • Cleojonz

            I actually really like “Hold up” Most of the rest of the album doesn’t really move me like that. To watch the visual album however, spectacular.

          • Junegirl627

            All night, freedom, hold up, and don’t hurt yourself are all better than hello sorry not sorry

            • miss t-lee
              • Junegirl627

                my side eye is en fuego ahora…..

                • miss t-lee

                  That’s fine…lol

            • JennyJazzhands

              I listen to don’t hurt yourself every single day.

              • Junegirl627

                I dated a guy this past summer and after dating for over a year he told me that he had been engaged to his fiance since 3 months before we ever laid eyes on each other. Plus me and the guy worked at the same company. I listened to that ALBUM every single day until a few weeks ago.

                The anger in don’t hurt yourself can only be understood by a person who knows that they are out of the league of someone who did them dirty. My best guy friend said if he came home from work and heard that song playing in hs house he would turn around and leave because no good can come from walking into a room when your woman is playing that song.

                • JennyJazzhands

                  We have had a very similar experience.

                  • Junegirl627

                    I’m sorry to hear that. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. I went from being his lady to a sidechick/ slide in the time it took for him to verbally pull back a curtain and show me what I really was to him. I remember saying that I felt like a bucket he dumped into because there was no toilet nearby.

                    It rocks your core and makes you question you intelligence, beauty, appeal, worth. It made me doubt myself and my worthiness of love because I couldn’t cut the cord right away. I made me realize that a person can give you life and that feeling is as addictive as any drug.

                    I had to find myself while not getting lost in the anger. so yeah that isn’t something I would want to see another person life through.

                  • grownandsexy2

                    **Hugs**

                • Mochasister

                  I am truly sorry for your experience. Some human beings are truly just walking a**holes defecating on innocent people. At least you got away from him; I feel sorry for his fiancée.

                  • Junegirl627

                    I feel sorry for her too…

                • grownandsexy2

                  Call me what you want, but I wouldn’t date anyone today without playing detective, checking them out thoroughly. It’s incidents like this that makes you not trust. I remember a co-worker who hung in my office everyday God sent trying to get me to go out with him. He was fine as hayle too, but I declined because I don’t like to date where I work. We both left the company at some point and I bumped into him a few years later so we spent the time catching up. Turns out he was engaged when he was hanging around my office asking me out and had a cavalier attitude about it. So I dodged a bullet but his wife and the child they had didn’t.

                  Bumped into him the next year and he was in divorce court, and back home with his parents. His cheating had caught up with him. By his own admission, he was still “out there.” Families needlessly broken up for some BS. SMH. I’m sorry that happened to you. **Hugs**

                  • Junegirl627

                    I did investigating. and he knew what he was doing. Plus the fiance was long distance so there were no signs of another woman in his life.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      I didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t investigate. I just meant that for myself, in these times, I feel like checking a guy out is necessary for me because some men have the tendency to play with your emotions like it’s no big deal. There is no worse feeling. I’ve been there.

                    • Junegirl627

                      oh I know what you meant. I was just saying that when these dogs wanna hide a bone they will hide IT! lol

                  • HoneyRose

                    Checking out what? Obviously if people are sloppy you can find it, but some people who do this are slick with it. There’s only so much you can do if you’re not a PI.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying she or anyone else should have played detective. That’s just me and how I would operate in these times. Yes, there are some slickies out here, no doubt about it and lord knows there are plenty of sloppy folks who get caught right out of the gate. You’d be surprised what you can find online though (and maybe not). And yes, some PI level stuff is not out of the question if dating was a consideration, but I’m not. If I were, no one is above suspicion and investigation. lol.

              • MsSula

                Same here.

            • HoneyRose

              Don’t Hurt Yourself is my JAM. I love that song. What on 25 even comes close to that?

              • Junegirl627

                Nothing (read: nuffin)

          • SimplePseudonym

            Seriously. Also, given the fact that so much of what Beyonce puts out gets struck with copyright infringement and plagiarism lawsuits (on extremely credible grounds once you see the works side-by-side, mind you), it’s interesting to me that so many people are convinced of her greatness when she’s just scrap-booking together the work of other artists that she hopes are too obscure for the general public to recognize. Can we talk about that?

            • miss t-lee

              Woo!
              Man…*we* could talk about it. Not many folks are ready to have that convo though…lol

            • HoneyRose

              People sue big superstars all the time hoping to get a payout because they’re rich targets. Beyonce’s most recently decided suit from 2015 she won (judge ruled no substantial similarities). Some dude sued her for the second 60-second trailer for Lemonade (she countersued). THe current lawsuit against her is that she used someone’s voice in Formation. None of the law suits against her ever alleged that she stole substantial parts of works from other people or that her work isn’t original. They’re all about little bits and pieces here and there.

        • KNeale

          Though you won’t be able to tell by next sentence, I am capable of being critical of Beyonce. But I think the album was both good and worthy musically and lyrically. Some of her past music to me were mediocre (not all) when they got alotta love. But not this one. It was emotional, it was diverse, it was musical, the vocals were great. I think this was a stevie wonder level album: musical diversity, taking on bigger themes that also connect across the album, musicality, etc. I know yall will come for me but before you do I’m not saying it sounds like Stevie Wonder I’m saying its construction is Stevie Wonder level. And because we’re in the moment I don’t know that we will fully appreciate it until we’re a little further down the line.

        • Junegirl627

          I was the opposite. The poetry between the videos annoy after a while. the videos are cool but i’m not into videos like that anymore…. I didn’t watch lemonade on HBO when it first came on had a date. downloaded the album fell in love then went back to watch the special based on the music.

          • Ra

            I agree. I listen to the Lemonade record more than the visual album. Similarly, I tend to write more about the lyrics than the film. Formation is brilliant. I did a whole piece where I juxtapose the lyrics to “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien which is an awesome piece of American war literature.

            Because I wore out the Lemonade film when it was release, I am more anxious hear the next track than listening to the poetry in between. After Hold Up, I’m ready for Don’t Hurt Yourself immediately. Then, Sorry, I Ain’t sorry.

            It was an awesome executive decision to have the full record experience seperate from the film and the poetry. Winning.

          • Madam CJ_Skywalker

            Same.

            I always feel as though the artists’ video messes up the visuals I craft in my own imagination.
            So i opt out…

        • KNeale

          What are some amazing albums? Whats your top 3?

        • Leggy

          If they really kept it about music as y’all have mused then 25 was the most mediocre album on that list. It was boring and overdone. How many people even still listen to that album? How many people know any song beside hello?
          How many times has Adele given us a bunch of heart break cliche songs?
          Also was it also about music last year when swift won? Or about music in the 20 years that no black woman has won the award? Or was it about music when swift beat her in 2008?

          • SimplePseudonym

            Right. So, it was a battle of mediocre albums for both. Which one was the better mediocre album is debatable and I’ll leave that to you all, but my comment is to point out that “Lemonade” was not a *musical* masterpiece, as many are suggesting.

            • Question

              Who has suggested it was a masterpiece? I think people are saying that unlike “25”, it was groundbreaking, daring, cohesive and introspective. What was 25? 21 set to new forms (lyrics and rhythms) but essentially the same content.

            • Leggy

              No, music is subjective. YOU did not think Lemonade was a musical masterpiece. people are allowed to think that it was. Your opinion on music is not more relevant just because you’re contrary. Considering that Lemonade has a meta critic rating of 92 while 25 had one of 75 and considering Lemonade topped almost all the best album lists of the year, you have to wonder why she was then snubbed and given urban album. It’s basically the you’re okay for a black woman and I’m tired of people acting like that wasn’t the case here.

              • SimplePseudonym

                I get where you’re coming from. As you said yourself, “music is subjective.” So, why are you wasting your time debating taste and preference?

                • Leggy

                  Because you put your opinion as the end all and be all. Like sunplepseudonym said it so it must be so. “You’re confusing visual arts and musical…”, you said that like you were some kind of authority.

                  • SimplePseudonym

                    I started it with “I think.” Which is my perspective. I say this b/c I had that experience myself. Thought it was great music when I watched the video, then had to listen to just the music alone and wasn’t touched and now that I do listen to just the music, I realize my love for the music is directly linked to my emotions from the video and suggested that other people might be having the same experience without realizing it. Never said I was authority. Suggested a possible explanation.

        • No Google

          Man, I been saying this since Lemonade dropped. The same thing happened to me. I watched it, thought it was amazing, downloaded the album, listened to it while I took a ride in the car and was like “….meh.” The entirety of Lemonade is great, the music is mediocre. The self titled was more deserving of AOTY than lemonade. But if you ain’t blindly stanning for her, folks ain’t trying to hear it.

          • SimplePseudonym

            Yo, Beyonce stans turn rabid at any suggestion that anything she does is not the best thing ever done. Given the fact that she’s the Copycat Queen, it’s laughable. How can people go to bat so wildly in defense of the “artistry” of someone who has plagiarized entire music videos and has up to 15 different writers for one song?

            I’ll never understand.

            I agree with you in that I found “Beyonce” to be stronger musically than “Lemonade.” That “Lemonade” video, though… everything.

            • HoneyRose

              Most artists have lots of writers on their songs and take elements of their writing and visual imagery from others. There’s really little that’s new in music in general.

    • Lisss

      Thank you! I think we live in such a visual society that people forget that awards like the Grammys evaluate the MUSIC, not videos. No matter how cinematographically beautiful they are.

      Now i know the stans might come for my throat but lyrically speaking (aside from the spoken word bits written by OTHER artists), Mrs Carter has nothing of significance to say. We are not talking about Michael Jackson’s level of lyrical timelessness here. History will remember Queen Bee as just that: a diva who made good beats for girl’s night when you wanna get ratchet with your friends after a week of insufferable 2520s at your workplace.

      • SimplePseudonym

        yessssssssss!!!! As big of a hit as she is at the moment, I don’t her music being played as a “classic” by generations to come. Also, too much of Beyonce’s “art” is copied, which costs her a lot of cred in my eyes and makes her more of a music scrapbook maker rather than an actual artist. She’s plagiarized entire music videos. and I say this as a HUGE Beyonce fan.

        • Monica Harris

          I am actually not a Beyonce fan, although I do like quite a bit of her old stuff. I disagree about her “classic” status. I would definitely put money on Beyonce being played for generations to come.

      • !!!!!

    • Phil GoBeGreat

      Wont find a much bigger Adele fan than I, but I can objectively say that 25 was a subpar album to say the least (especially by Adele standards).
      “Hello” is a smash that will stand the test of time and carried that album… because there are no other tracks on there that are especially awesome.
      Lemonade as a cohesive album (even without the visuals) is phenomenal. with the visuals… its in a league of its own.

      • Cleojonz

        21 was a much better album. Hello wasn’t even the dopest cut on 25 but it’s the one that keeps getting pushed forward so I see why people are screaming she is mediocre, plus just being tired of hearing that song.

        • Phil GoBeGreat

          I dont think it was the dopest cut either, but it is the one that will resonate with the most people. So therefore the most popular.
          21 was WAYYYYYY better as was 19. 25 is definitely her 3rd best album.

          • I agree 21 was way better than 25. 25 felt like a retread

      • mssporadic

        There are better songs on 25 than Hello. Hello overshadowed everything else. Love in the Dark and All I Ask (written by Bruno) are great tracks.

    • LoveTrenia

      I’ve been trying to think of a way to say how I feel about Lemonade, and you hit the nail on the head.

    • Freebird

      Great comment

    • LilMissSideEye

      If it were just about music, though, then we’d be talking about Sturglll Simpson’s album as well. But we’re not, because it’s not about the album in a vacuum. It’s the music and the impact and the majority of the white academy members looking at/listening to Beyonce and saying “I don’t get it.”

    • RagesAgainstMachines

      It was called a “visual album.” You can’t separate the two.

      • SimplePseudonym

        Grammys do, though. However, this could change in the future. You see how Chance the Rapper now has them including streaming categories.

    • Thank you! I came down here to comment this as soon as I read the article. The Lemonade album was not that good. Now whether Adele should have won or not is a different story, but Beyonce was not robbed of anything.

    • ALL OF THIS. this was ive been saying. one had stellar visuals the other music.

    • chazb

      I agree wholeheartedly. Visually it was stunning but the songs don’t stand out on their own. I have owned and listened to all of her previous albums but this one I just can’t except for one or two songs.

    • HoneyRose

      I felt the opposite. The visuals are beautiful, but I didn’t really FEEL Lemonade until I was listening to the songs without the music videos. The visual album was great but the music is amazing.

      Adele is a great artist and I loved 21, but 25 felt like more of the same.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    ” a level playing field and concretized rules that apply to everyone and make sense”

    Such hope you have. Admirable

  • Courtney Wheeler

    I’m also had some give some official props to Bruno Mars….representing for tiny men everywhere…..

    I dug it. I think Prince would of been proud.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Told y’all that man got it.

      Somebody said he’s the perfect example of using coke but not letting it take over your life lbs

      • I have been saying the same thing for years!

      • BrownKitty289

        I REALLY hope you mean coca cola, mister! Lol

        • HouseOfBonnets

          *Ms (I use memes for avis lol)

          And nope coke it’s been covered that he either uses or is on the mend.

    • miss t-lee

      His tribute was awesome.
      And I got my life while The Time performed.

      • Cleojonz

        I saw them a couple years ago, but Jerome and Jam and Lewis weren’t touring with them. It was nice to see everybody last night. They still do the same schtick, down to the last note and spin move, but it’s refreshing to see, you can count on a great performance by them. That kind of showmanship is almost a lost art.

        • miss t-lee

          A very lost art.
          I see Bruno is trying to keep it going for the new school though. Admirable.

          • Cleojonz

            It makes me like hims just a little bit more. When Uptown Funk came out I thought it smelled of serious appropriation. I’ve come to appreciate how he really seems to appreciate the origins of soul music.

            • miss t-lee

              Yeah…it took me a while too. But seems like he’s found his stride.

              • Question

                If I’m honest, I think he always had his stride – we just needed proof.

                • miss t-lee

                  I admit I wasn’t paying much attention when he was more poppy.

            • I don’t listen to too much Bruno but I’ve always respected him as a performer. Every performance I see shows a lot of craft and appreciation for those who cam before him.

        • PriceIsRightHorns

          They were initially going to do a longer segment. After The Time performed, Bruno was going to do “Uptown Funk” and then bring in 3 or 4 artists for the Prince tribute. The Grammys cut their allotted time, so the entire tribute ended up being 3 songs.

          • miss t-lee

            Word? Too bad. Would have loved for it to be longer.

            • PriceIsRightHorns

              Yeah. Jimmy is a part of the recording academy and they initially approached him about a TV special (separate from the Grammys). Prince’s estate is messy right now, so they decided to focus on the Grammy segment. From there, Jimmy was adamant that people who were associated with Prince be involved – the original Time, The Revolution, NPG, etc and it went on from there.

              • miss t-lee

                Ahhhh.
                I thought they had hammered out the estate stuff.

                • PriceIsRightHorns

                  Unfortunately, no.

                  • miss t-lee

                    Dang.
                    I knew something had to be up when his music hit the streaming sites. Especially since he was so against it.

                    • PriceIsRightHorns

                      Yup. It’s basically 4 siblings against 2. A local bank was managing his affairs and then 4 siblings wanted Londell McMillian to take over and the other 2 wanted Van Jones. The judge nixed that, put Comerica Bank in charge and then the streaming deal was pushed through.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Wow.
                      I thought it was just his sister? There’s 5 other sibs?

                    • PriceIsRightHorns

                      One full sibling. His dad had five kids with his first wife (two are deceased). His mom had one son before marrrying John L and one after their divorce.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Oh okay. Now I’m up on game.

                    • Cleojonz

                      So disrespectful.

              • Cleojonz

                It would have been so much better if they could have had the Revolution backing up Bruno. I might have shed a tear.

                • PriceIsRightHorns

                  I would’ve loved for the Revolution to be involved. I saw them in September with Bilal and it was amazing.

      • Oh shoot. Didn’t know The Time performed… *checks Youtube*

        • miss t-lee

          Yup!!! It was awesome.

    • Cleojonz

      I peeped how in control of his band he was. Dancing and singing but still directing his band. it was pretty reminiscent of Prince actually.

      • Cheech

        And James Brown before him.

        • And Ike Turner.

          • Cheech

            The days when a band member would get fined or beaten for missing a dime-stop turn.

            • miss t-lee

              Or being late.

            • JennyJazzhands

              My mom called me James Brown for fining my dancers for being late and missing stage cues. When I work with live bands they get fined too. They always assume that the lead dancer doesn’t know they missed a note or came in late. They don’t realize that I grew up playing piano, clarinet, flute and drums. I know your music better than you. “Tighten up!”

              • SororSalsa

                Girl, yes! Dancing with a live band is nervewracking. I did a show with a band that only got the cues right once. That was so stressful, having to adjust and hope everyone else would follow when the band f’d up.

          • pls

            And beyonce #petty

        • Anonymous

          I am just grateful that he has the sense to publicly recognize his musical ancestors.

      • miss t-lee

        In his 60 Minutes interview he mentioned that he was inspired how James Brown ran his band. You can see that definitely.

      • SororSalsa

        I loved seeing how excited the guys in the band were to meet The Time. It was great to see them pay the proper respect.

        • Nik White

          Me too! And what about the guys from BET doin the Time’s moves in the audience?!?

          • SororSalsa

            I loved that! They were doing the dance and they didn’t care who saw it. And did you see Jay Z getting his life? He was into it.

            • Nik White

              Yessss he was!

          • Question

            When they were panning the audience during the Time and Bruno’s sets, I couldn’t help but think Wypipo don’t know how its done. Every person of color was jammin’ meanwhile Wypipo standing and clapping to the beat.

            We do it right.

    • Phil GoBeGreat

      But Bruno is going to CLEAN UP at the Grammys next year. 24K magic is a great album

      • BatmansExWife

        I’m super late on how wonderful the album is. Thankful for his performance last night. That song he performed was great!

      • Courtney Wheeler

        Yeah..I JUST started listening to 24K and there’s some serious jammers on there.

        I see you Bruno…

        • SororSalsa

          I will admit that I like the album, but I’m very conflicted about Bruno. This album especially is pretty much a jack of 80’s R&B. The execution is great and I enjoy it, but many of the songs make me remember when it was done before. And he will be much more successful than the artists that created that sound.

          • Question

            Is that because he’s Bruno or because by and large the music industry is more lucrative at the top than it was in the 80s? The same is true for athletes – folks are just throwing around a LOT more money these days.

            • Bob Sacamano

              Not exactly. The average industry exec is more determined than ever to focus the little funds they’re allotted on ONE sure thing, since in many cases there are fewer opportunities for them to monetize the music. The early 80’s became ridiculously profitable (see:83, 84 and 85), yet FULL of Black artists who didn’t get the backing, simply because they were Black. The label always said it was because they didn’t have a broad enough market, until SoundScan came along and proved them wrong (this was directly responsible for the 90’s R&B boom).
              Now that we’re in an era that produces considerably less money, where music sales are concerned, executives once again have decided to forgo “risking” most of their funds on Black artists, especially when they can find other ethnicities to capture that sound, without all the uncomfortable “black stuff”. As a result, most successful Black artists have to be in the vein of Beyoncé (an established veteran of a lucrative bygone era), The Weekend (soulful, but only marginally attached to all the things define the Black American experience, sonically or otherwise) or Chance the Rapper (completely independent of the money making machine).

      • miss t-lee

        Guaranteed.

      • Leggy

        No he’s not. Taylor swift is releasing an album this year and the Grammys LOVEEEE Her.

        • Phil GoBeGreat

          I wish I could place a wager with you right now.

          • Janelle Doe

            save your Money Phil, TS is yt kryptonite

            *askKanye

        • Cleojonz

          I don’t know, maybe the kids will be tired of her. They seem to have moved on to Shawn Mendez. And Ed Sheeran has new music too.

        • BrownKitty289

          :(

    • Junegirl627

      It was the second best dedication I saw. Bey did it better at her concert

    • NonyaB?

      Courtneh. Dayum. Hwheelah! In awe of this shaderrific praise, ma’am.

    • pls

      He is a lover of black music and it shows how much he appreciates it, unlike a timberlake or even an adele who don’t come right out and say, “I love and make black music” like he does. *plays calling all my lovelies*

    • SororSalsa

      Mmm, I’m not sure. Something tells me Prince would have been tickled at Bruno’s imitation while being irritated at the same time. Many of Bruno Mars’ biggest songs have been pale imitations of styles that black people did before, and better. That said, he’s a great performer and his band is amazing. I give him all the props for that.

    • Nik White

      He did that! Eyeliner and all.

  • NomadaNare

    My boy Frankie O called the night almost two months in advance and boycotted on principle even to the point of not submitting his music

    Yall be fronting on the boy but his cultural sensitivity works itself into his music all the time and is one of the reasons he makes such great art

    http://pitchfork.com/news/71553-frank-ocean-slams-grammys-in-angry-tumblr-post/

    Auntie ‘Yonce is legendary and has been for quite some time

    Folks are still talking about TPAB but I cant even remember the name of Macintoshs album and while it wont be the same for 25 and Lemonade (because 25 is a much better album than Mackinroes) people will be talking about Lemonade for a few decades at least

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