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Grammys take world music global with award category name change

By | Published on Wednesday 4 November 2020

Grammy Awards

Organisers of the Grammy Awards have announced that they are changing the name of their Best World Music Album category to Best Global Music Album. The new name, they reckon, will remove “connotations of colonialism”.

“As we continue to embrace a truly global mindset, we update our language to reflect a more appropriate categorisation that seeks to engage and celebrate the current scope of music from around the world”, says a statement from Grammy producers the US Recording Academy.

“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”, it goes on.

“The change”, it adds, “symbolises 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”.

You could probably argue that changing ‘world’ to ‘global’ doesn’t really do much, if any, of that, and the rebrand is basically just confusing. However, this is the latest in a series of efforts by the Grammys to counteract accusations of racism. Earlier this year, a number of category names were changed, several of them removing the term ‘urban’.

Nominations for next year’s Grammys are set to be announced on 24 Nov. The ceremony itself will be broadcast on 31 Jan 2021.