The 65th edition of the Grammys came back in full swing on Sunday as it was a night that brimmed with shocking upsets, historic wins, tributes for artists while Beyoncé was again in the running for the top honor.
The show once again ended with someone else winning album of the year.
This year was widely seen as a chance for the Grammys to honor the superstar with a marquee award.
Instead, Harry Styles won, and a line from his acceptance speech stung those who thought Beyoncé should have won.
Styles won for his third album, “Harry’s House,” and even he seemed surprised when his name was called.
The British pop star was again competing with other giants in the industry like ABBA, Adele, Bad Bunny, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé.
While accepting the award, he said, “This is really, really kind. I’m so, so grateful, I’m just so as this doesn’t happen to people like me very often. And this is so, so nice. Thank you very, very much.”
The line, “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” drew criticism in the hours after his win.
Styles was born and raised in Northern England and rose to fame in 2010 when he auditioned for the Simon Cowell-led talent competition show “The X Factor”. His solo career has earned him several Grammys and Billboard-charting albums and singles.
Styles has not said what he meant by his words but some have interpreted it as him trying to express how far he’d come from his youth. Others, however, see the remark as an example of white privilege.
Despite Beyoncé’s 32 Grammy wins the most of any artist in history many are troubled by the fact she is yet to win album of year and that she’s lost to white musicians every time she has been nominated.
Similar criticism was raised in other stories and by online commenters, some of whom noted a Black woman hadn’t won album of the year since Lauryn Hill in the late ’90s.
The artist is tied with her husband, Jay-Z, for most all-time nominations with 88 but she has only won 32 times. Most significantly, Beyoncé has lost album of the year four times to Taylor Swift, Beck, Adele and now Styles.
Beyoncé has been nominated in each of the most prestigious categories across her decadeslong career but she has won in these categories just once for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).”
A Black woman has not won album of the year since Lauryn Hill received the accolade for her breakout album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1999. The last Black person to win the award was Jon Batiste, last year for his album “We Are.”
According to Billboard, the Recording Academy boasts more than 12,000 voting members. The entire membership is allowed to vote in the big four categories best new artist, record, song and album of the year.
Members are also responsible for nominating in their area of expertise, as well as voting on the winners in certain categories.
Numerous artists have so far criticized how the Grammys nominate artists.
The Recording Academy is undergoing a campaign to diversify its membership and has a goal of having 2,500 female members by 2025.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas