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Poll: Let Us Know What You Think About The Best Progressive R&B Album Category Name Change
Last week, on June 10, the Recording Academy announced updates to the GRAMMY Awards guidelines, including name changes and updates for several categories. One of the four name changes, Best Urban Contemporary Album has been renamed to Best Progressive R&B Album, and we want to know what you think about it.
The changes were approved by the board in May and came from ongoing conversations with the Recording Academy's members. The aforementioned category was updated to offer "a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B. This category is intended to highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music. It may also incorporate production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk and alternative."
"I'm excited to announce our latest changes, as we're constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the GRAMMY Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry," Harvey Mason Jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, explained. "The Academy accepts proposals for rule changes from members of the music community throughout the year that are carefully reviewed and, if accepted, ultimately ratified at our annual Board meeting, a process that we are proud to have continued in this challenging year."
The removal of the umbrella term "urban" from the category comes several days after Warner Music and Republic Records (both under Universal Music Group) revealed they would no longer use the term. The newly established Black Music Coalition of U.K. music executives, inspired by the emerging #TheShowMustBePaused movement in the U.S., called for the removal of the term "urban" from music industry language in an open letter pushing for "a legacy of lasting change."
"Urban contemporary" was coined by Black New York radio DJ Frankie Crocker in 1974 to encompass the broad mix of music by Black artists he played—R&B, funk, disco, hip-hop and more—and to attract advertising dollars from white businesses.
At the 2020 GRAMMYs earlier this year, Lizzo's Cuz I Love You (Deluxe) won Best Urban Contemporary Album. Two of the album's singles, "Truth Hurts" and "Jerome" also won, for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Traditional R&B Performance, respectively.