Harvey Mason Jr., the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Recording Academy, organisers of the Grammy Awards, has said there are some misunderstandings regarding the creation of an Afrobeats category in the Grammy Awards.
He made the statement on the back of the announcement made a few months ago that the Awards scheme was considering making Afrobeats a category in the world’s most prestigious award scheme.
Speaking to stakeholders of the arts in Accra on Monday, September 26, 2022, Harvey noted that while discussions were ongoing on the introduction of Afrobeats into the scheme, there are some things to be ironed out.
“There is one problem with the group that I met with, and you might understand this. The Afrobeats community has some infighting about what the category should be called, what type of music should be honoured, what should be acceptable and applicable to the category, and I said I acknowledge we have to realise there are a lot of other types of music,” he noted.
Harvey noted that the Recording Academy recently had a meeting with songwriters, producers, and music executives from the Afrobeats community to get more insight into the genre.
“We just talked about what are the different sub-genres of Afrobeats; the needs, the desires, and my goal is to represent all genres of music including Afrobeats at the Grammys, but it has to be done properly,” he said.
He however noted that as the CEO of the Recording Academy, the decision to create a category is not his sole preserve. Members of the academy must always submit a proposal for consideration and deliberation.
Afrobeats, a term used to describe modern sounds of Africa, has gained a lot of currency in the world in the past few years. The Afrobeats (with the “s”) is different from the genre Fela Kuti created. While Fela’s Afrobeat (without the “s”) is a genre, Afrobeats is rather a descriptive word for “rhythms from Africa.”
As a result of Afrobeats dominance on the global music scene, the British Official Charts Company published on its site the UK Afrobeats Singles Chart in 2020.
Billboard, in March 2022, also published their Afrobeats Songs Chart.
The argument, however, has been about getting a clear-cut definition for Afrobeats since it lumps up many African rhythms