Christian singer-songwriter Flamy Grant has had their debut album ‘Bible Belt Baby’ kicked out of the Best Contemporary Christian Album category at the Grammy Awards. The decision was seemingly made because one song on the record contains some rude words. Apparently, Christians do not swear.
Drag queen Grant - real name Matthew Blake - released their album in 2022 and has come in for criticism from the Christian right. This controversy helped to propel ‘Bible Belt Baby’ to the top of the Christian iTunes chart earlier this year, prompting Blake to submit it to the Grammys to be considered for next year’s awards.
The album was selected to be put forward to Grammy voters. However, despite only being submitted for Best Contemporary Christian Album, it has actually been long-listed in the Best Pop Vocal Album category - a move that obviously puts it up against music by much bigger and more well-known artists. Blake feels, they tell Rolling Stone, that this decision has “completely buried” them.
It’s the song ‘Esther, Ruth And Rahab’, that has proven too much for the Christian Grammys. On it, Blake calls for more gender equality in the church, singing at one point that growing up it felt like “God would only hear a prayer / If it came from a person with a cock”. Elsewhere, they sing: “Eve said, ‘Fuck this system, I am chasing after wisdom’”.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Grammy Awards organiser The Recording Academy denied that there was any homophobia behind its decision. Insisting that it “embraces artists from all backgrounds and genres”, and that moving Christian music with swear words in it to other non-Christian categories has long been “standard practice … given that the Gospel & CCM field consists of lyrics-based categories that reflect a Christian worldview”.
You might think that explicitly Christian songs sung by a Christian would constitute a “Christian worldview” oblivious of the specific words used, but apparently not.
“I was told that screening committees moving you happens, but it’s weird to get moved into pop”, says Blake. “There was nothing within the guide indicating why I would’ve been moved. The ultimate reason I’m coming out to talk about this is because we weren’t told what happened. What do future artists need to know if they want to follow this path?”
“Next time I write a song addressing the oppression of women and LGBTQ+ people in the church”, they add, “I’ll be sure to do it in a way that’s more palatable to those doing the oppressing”.
The latest Flamy Grant single, ‘Fortune Teller’, was released last week. Watch the video for that below.