2018 Grammy nominations show shift toward diversity

Autumn Miller

In a year flooded with powerhouse “New Music Fridays” as well as huge, record-breaking releases, 2017 has proven to be another great year for music across genres. With more than enough talent to choose from,  anticipation and speculation has been circling around who will be fortunate enough to receive a 2018 Grammy nomination, and now the wait is finally over.

On Tuesday, soul singer Andra Day announced the four most notable categories — best new artist, record of the year, song of the year, and album of the year— on CBS This Morning, with the Recording Academy announcing the rest of the nominees for the 84 other categories shortly after.

For the first time in the show’s illustrious 60-year history it seems it’s finally starting to recognize the beautiful diversity within the American music industry. Zero white males fell in the take-all category of album of the year. Instead, the five-slot category shines a light on minorities in music, featuring three nominations for records from black men — Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love!, JAY-Z’s 4:44, and Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN — as well as a Latino man (Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic), and a woman (Lorde’s Melodrama). The award show’s acknowledgement of diversity in the music industry has been lackluster recently — and basically since its inception — but the reflection of choices for 2018’s  the upcoming show finally gives the outnumbered and overlooked the voice the industry and the fans have been craving.

JAY-Z, the unofficial Grammy king with 21 awards himself, sit at the top of the nomination chain with eight nominations, followed by the socially-driven Kendrick Lamar, who was graced with seven. Fast-rising fresh faces SZA and Khalid both landed a spot in five categories, making SZA the most nominated woman at the upcoming ceremony. What do these artists all have in common? Aside from the high number of nominations they all received, these artists have been revolutionizing the face of an industry that’s tired of overlooking their success and influence.

One can’t discount the number of artists who identify as LGBTQ+ who landed the ballot as well. Both Kesha and Lady Gaga were nominated for best pop vocal album and best pop solo performance. Justin Tranter, co-writer of the radio’s choice summertime hit, “Issues” by Julia Michaels, is part of the team nominated for song of the year. Don’t let this lead you to believe that artists who identify with the LGBTQ community are just now producing music, though. They’ve been in the mix of creators behind our favorite songs for quite some time, but they’re just starting to get the recognition that they deserve. These changes in an area generally dominated by white males isn’t nearly close to hasn’t hit the finish line yet, but for this type of progress to finally be happening is at least a step in the right direction.

You can check out the rest of the Grammy nominees here. The 60th annual Grammy Awards airs on January 28 at 7:30 P.M. on CBS.