The Recording Academy, who are responsible for the Grammy Awards annually, will be changing the awards’ Best World Music Album category to Best Global Music Category in an effort to be more inclusive. This is another one of the academy’s sweeping changes, following the removal of the term “Urban” from multiple award categories.
The most recent winner of the now-defunct category was Beninese singer-songwriter and actress Angélique Kidjo for her 2019 record Celia. Some of the awards past winners have been Yo-Yo Ma, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tinariwen, Gipsy Kings, Ravi Shankar, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and the Chieftains.
The academy stated that they held discussions with artists, enthnomusicologists and linguists from across the globe to find the best way to update this category. According to a statement put out by the academy, the old terms symbolized “colonialism, folk and ‘non-American.'”
“Over the summer we held discussions with artists, ethnomusicologists, and linguists from around the world who determined that there was an opportunity to update the best world music album category toward a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term,” the Recording Academy said in a statement. “The change symbolizes a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk, and ‘non-American’ that the former term embodied while adapting to current listening trends and cultural evolution among the diverse communities it may represent.”
The nomination of certain music in Grammy categories have attracted controversy in the past couple of years, particularly by Black artists who have their work nominated in the hip hop categories. Both Drake and Tyler, The Creator have criticized the placement of their music in the Best Rap Song and Best Rap album categories respectively.