The Grammy Awards change world music category due to 'connotations of colonialism'

The award will be called best global music album from now on.

The award will be called best global music album from now on

Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo won the 2020 Grammy Award for best world music album. (AFP via Getty Images)

Back in June, the Grammy Awards changed the names of multiple R&B, rap and Latin categories in order to be "inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry," according to CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr. This week, the Grammys have announced another new change, this time to the world music album category, which is now being renamed to best global music album. 

The world music album category was first introduced in 1991 to highlight, as stated in the Grammys rules and guidelines, "international non-Western classical music, international non-American and non-British traditional folk music, international cross-cultural music based on the previously mentioned genres as well as international recordings of world beat, world jazz (with a higher percentage of world than jazz music), world pop, and cross-cultural music."

In a new statement from the Recording Academy, the institution now recognizes that the category needs to be updated to "a more relevant, modern and inclusive term."

The statement reads: "The change symbolizes a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk, and 'non-America' that the former term embodied while adapting to current listening trends and cultural evolution among the diverse communities it may represent. Global music will continue to provide a home for influential music from all parts of the globe yet bringing with it a fresh perspective fueled by authenticity, diversity and direct inclusion into our process." 

The new criteria for the category have yet to be updated in the Grammys' rules and guidelines.

All of the newly changed categories will be put into effect later this month when the 2021 Grammy Award nominations are announced.


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