meta-scriptWatch Harvey Mason jr. Deliver Touching "Music Requires Listening" Speech At The 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show | GRAMMY.com
Harvey Mason, jr

Harvey Mason, jr.

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Watch Harvey Mason jr. Deliver Touching "Music Requires Listening" Speech At The 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show

In this stirring petition to the global music community, Harvey Mason jr., the Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of The Recording Academy, asks us to band together to elevate marginalized voices in creative communities

GRAMMYs/Mar 15, 2021 - 07:23 am

In a televised message to all viewers of the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show, Harvey Mason jr., the Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of The Recording Academy, cuts to the essence of the role music plays in our lives. He then segues into why it’s important for The Recording Academy to listen harder to marginalized voices in the music community and create a more just creative world for all. 

Watch Mason jr.’s heartening dispatch from the 63rd GRAMMY Awards below, which features footage of young musicians Channel Tres, Tal Wilkenfeld, Taku Hirano, Tayla Parx, JP Saxe and Madame Gandhi.

Stay tuned to GRAMMY.com for all things GRAMMY Awards (including the Premiere Ceremony livestream), and make sure to watch the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show, airing live on CBS and Paramount+ tonight, Sun., March 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

Check out all the complete 2021 GRAMMY Awards show winners and nominees list here.

(From left) Harvey Mason Jr., Lady London, Jimmy Jam, and Linda Duncombe

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Inside Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years Of Hip-Hop At The GRAMMY Museum

"Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop," Jimmy Jam said during the celebratory event Resonance, which honored the legacy of hip-hop at the GRAMMY Museum.

GRAMMYs/Dec 8, 2023 - 11:46 pm

The Recording Academy is continuing to honor the legacy of hip-hop, to one of the most popular genres of music in America. Held on Dec. 4 at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop was presented by the Academy's Black Music Collective and sponsored by City National Bank.

The Resonance event took over the Museum's fourth floor, which is home to the recently unveiled "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit." There, members and leadership from the Academy and BMC, along with musicians and industry professionals, celebrated 50 years of music that has transcended boundaries, inspired advocacy and fostered impactful social change. 

Guests were welcomed into the space by an unparalleled collection of artifacts — an ode to the genre through memorabilia and interactive displays showcasing the evolution of hip-hop music and culture. Tupac’s all-white suit — worn in the last video he made — is displayed next to Notorious B.I.G.'s red leather pea jacket worn in the music video for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s "Players Anthem." The impact of the museum’s intentionally curated collection evokes the extended struggle of the Black experience in America, while celebrating its culture, creativity, and endurance against all odds.

The power of connection and representation was emphasized by five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, an R&B songwriter, music producer, and illustrious GRAMMY Museum Board Member. "The idea of 'resonance' struck a chord in me because the mission is unification, amplification and to celebrate Black music. Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop." 

A legendary figure who made his mark in the '80s by producing artists such as Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and producing partner Terry Lewis, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. 

"I'm proud to have known my partner Terry Lewis for 50 years. We were raised on hip-hop," he told the crowd. "Hip-hop inspires, it embodies transcendence. Hip-hop advocates and fosters social change, and the cultural significance is astounding."

Jimmy Jam highlighted the integral role of partnerships between the Black Music Collective and sponsor/supporters such as City National Bank and Amazon Music. Such relationships have enabled the third year of the Amazon Music-sponsored Your Future Is Now, a scholarship program.

"We have the opportunity to pour knowledge, resources and many opportunities into the young talent and the young creatives of the future. And that's what we're here to do," he continued.

GRAMMY Museum Board Member and Executive Vice President of City National Bank, Linda Duncombe, who was introduced by Jimmy Jam as "music’s best friend" spoke to the critical work of support. 

"We protect and celebrate those who have shared their gift as well as ensure their artistic contributions are accessible for people of all walks of life around the world and for future generations," she said, adding that as a Museum board member, "educating the next generation of artists and teachers is always top of mind. The 'Mixtape Exhibit' really will inspire students to pursue hip hop and the music industry."

Host Lady London, a rapper and songwriter from The Bronx summed up the power of hip-hop and its ability to transcend music. A hyped crowd enthusiastically received her words.

"It's beautiful to see what we have been able to cultivate in such a short amount of time. We are the culture, we have the power to shift the culture and we continue to move mountains," she said. "We are influences in fashion and design and the Black family education, economic empowerment, the arts. We're limitless.

"We have balanced everything and there is nothing that is quite parallel to that," Lady London continued. "I'm so proud to be a part of the culture."

As guests mingled among the exhibits many displays and highlights like original lyric sketches, mixtapes, and an interactive "sonic playground" where guests could interact with recording devices, make 808 beats and record tracks. Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. reflected on the culmination of a year celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. 

"Hip hop has been a defining force in our culture and it is so important to be able to honor it in this way" he said. "This is the end of a year that started with us celebrating at our GRAMMY Awards show last season."

Los Angeles' DJ Jadaboo — who has performed for Tommy Hilfiger at New York Fashion Week and a slew of celebrity parties and high profile events — set the vibe all night. Her mix spanned all five decades of the genre and beyond, from R&B to hip hop classics by Jay-Z and Drake, stacking much-sampled songs like Curtis Mayfield’s "Pusher Man" into the set. 

As the event carried on, Jimmy Jam’s earlier remarks echoed between the museum’s walls. "Look at what's been done in the last 50 years. You see it all around here," he said. "Now take a look at each other and know all that is happening right now… is because we are the people that are gonna continue to carry this on for another 50 years."

The GRAMMY Museum’s "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit" runs through Sept. 4, 2024. "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" will air Sunday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET and 8 to 10 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network, and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

How To Watch "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop": Air Date, Performers Lineup, Streaming Channel & More

Collage image featuring photos of the presenters for the 2024 GRAMMY nominations

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How To Watch The 2024 GRAMMY Nominations: St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy, Muni Long, Kim Petras, Jon Bon Jovi, "Weird Al" Yankovic & More To Announce The Nominees; Streaming Live Friday, Nov. 10

The nominations for the 2024 GRAMMYs will be announced on Friday, Nov 10, starting at 7:45 a.m. PT / 10:45 a.m. ET. Watch it live on live.GRAMMY.com and YouTube.

GRAMMYs/Oct 30, 2023 - 02:00 pm

It's that time again: The 2024 GRAMMYs is just a few months out — airing live Sunday, Feb. 4, from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Which means nominations for the 2024 GRAMMYs are just around the corner. On Friday, Nov 10, starting at 7:45 a.m. PT / 10:45 a.m. ET, nominations for the 2024 GRAMMYs will be announced via a livestream event airing live on live.GRAMMY.com. The nominations will also stream live on the Recording Academy's YouTube channel

The 2024 GRAMMYs nominations livestream event will feature a diverse cast of some of the leading voices in music today, including St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy, Muni Long, Kim Petras, 2024 MusiCares Person Of The Year Jon Bon Jovi, and many others, who will be announcing the 2024 GRAMMY nominees across all 94 categories. Plus, the livestream event will also feature an exclusive GRAMMY Nominations Pre-Show and Wrap-Up Show, which will both feature exclusive videos and conversations about the biggest stories and trends to come out of the 2024 GRAMMYs nominations.

City National Bank is the Official Bank of the GRAMMYs and proud sponsor of the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominations.

See below for a full guide to the 2024 GRAMMYs nominations livestream event happening next week:

Read More: How To Watch The 2024 GRAMMYs Live: GRAMMY Nominations Announcement, Air Date, Red Carpet, Streaming Channel & More

How Can I Watch The 2024 GRAMMY Nominations? 

The nominations livestream event will stream live on live.GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy's YouTube channel.

When Are The 2024 GRAMMY Nominations Announced?

The 2024 GRAMMYs nominations will be announced Friday, Nov 10. The day kicks off with an exclusive GRAMMY Nominations Pre-Show, starting at 7:45 a.m. PT / 10:45 a.m. ET. Hosted by Emmy-winning TV host and “GMA3” contributor Rocsi Diaz, the GRAMMY Nominations Pre-Show will give music fans an inside look at the various initiatives and campaigns that the Recording Academy, the organization behind the annual GRAMMY Awards, supports on a year-long basis on its mission to recognize excellence in the recording arts and sciences and cultivate the well-being of the music community.

Afterward, starting at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET, the GRAMMY nominations livestream event begins. The livestream event will begin with a special presentation announcing the nominees in the General Field categories, aka the Big Six, as well as select categories. On live.GRAMMY.com, exclusive videos announcing the nominees across multiple categories will stream as a multi-screen livestream event that users can control, providing a dynamic, expansive online experience for music fans of all genres. The nomination videos will also stream live on YouTube. The full list of 2024 GRAMMYs nominees will then be published on live.GRAMMY.com and GRAMMY.com immediately following the livestream event.

After the nominations are announced, stay tuned for an exclusive GRAMMY Nominations Wrap-Up Show. Co-hosted by "Entertainment Tonight" correspondents Cassie DiLaura and Denny Directo, the Wrap-Up Show will break down all the notable news and top stories from the 2024 GRAMMYs nominations. The GRAMMY Nominations Wrap-Up Show will stream live on live.GRAMMY.com as well as the Recording Academy's YouTube channel, X profile, Twitch channel, TikTok page, Instagram profile, and Facebook page.

Watch the 2024 GRAMMYs nominations livestream event and make sure to use #GRAMMYs to join the conversation on social media as it unfolds live on Friday, Nov. 10.

The schedule for the 2024 GRAMMYs nominations livestream event is as follows:

GRAMMY Nominations Pre-Show
7:45 a.m. PT / 10:45 a.m. ET

Nominations Livestream Event
8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET 

Nominations Livestream Event Ends & Full Nominations Revealed
8:25 a.m. PT / 11:25 a.m. ET 

GRAMMY Nominations Wrap-Up Show
8:25 a.m. PT / 11:25 a.m. ET

^All times are approximate and subject to change.

Read More: Three New Categories Added For The 2024 GRAMMYs: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album & Best Pop Dance Recording

Who's Announcing The 2024 GRAMMY Nominations?

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. will be joined by GRAMMY winners Arooj Aftab, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Jimmy Jam, Jon Bon Jovi, Samara Joy, Muni Long, Cheryl Pawelski, Kim Petras, Judith Sherman, St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy, and "Weird Al" Yankovic, along with "CBS Mornings" co-hosts Gayle King, Nate Burleson, and Tony Dokoupil, to announce all the nominees for the 2024 GRAMMYs. 

When Are The 2024 GRAMMYs?

The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, will air live on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Music's Biggest Night will air live on the CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+. 

Mark your calendars now for the 2024 GRAMMY nominations happening Friday, Nov 10.

With additional reporting by Morgan Enos.

2024 GRAMMYs: 4 Things To Know About The New Categories & Changes

Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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2024 GRAMMYs

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy

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2024 GRAMMYs: How The New Best African Music Performance GRAMMY Category Is A Massive Win For The World

At the 2024 GRAMMYs, African music will be elevated via the newly announced Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category. GRAMMY.com sat down with industry leaders from the African music community to discuss the impact of this major development.

GRAMMYs/Aug 2, 2023 - 08:04 pm

Harvey Mason jr. didn't just visit Africa — he was transformed by it.

In 2022, the Recording Academy CEO visited a number of African countries, where he met with leaders in the local music communities and intently listened to what each had to say.

"Mind-bending. Game-changing. Eye-opening," Mason jr. said of his trips to Africa. "There's so much music, so much creativity over there. Africa is the birthplace of, well, everything, but definitely music."

Accordingly, the universe of sounds coming out of the African continent can't be boiled down to just those having an international impact today, like Afrobeats or Amapiano. No, every corner of Africa is a fount of brilliant musical offerings. So it's incumbent on the Recording Academy, the world's leading community of music professionals, to reflect the momentum happening across Africa.

With this as the engine, the Recording Academy has revealed a thrilling new GRAMMY category in time for the 2024 GRAMMYs: Best African Music Performance.

Announced in tandem with two other exciting, new GRAMMY categories, including Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording, the category elevates all flavors of African music — from Afrobeats to kizomba to Ghanaian drill to South African hip-hop — without regard to borders. Musical excellence from anywhere and everywhere in Africa will be carefully considered in this progressive category. 

While this development is a forward-thinking expansion for the Recording Academy, the GRAMMYs, and the international music industry as a whole, the new Best African Music Performance category is the "first step toward a much bigger, more fruitful journey ahead," Mason jr. tells GRAMMY.com. "And we're not done as an Academy: We're making sure that we represent music from that region fairly and accurately."

Read More: 2024 GRAMMYs: 4 Things To Know About The New Categories & Changes

To celebrate the new category, GRAMMY.com sat down with industry leaders — including Mason jr. — to discuss the story behind the brand-new Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category, its impact on the global music industry, and the future of African music.

These interviews were edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.

Photo Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy

*Harvey Mason jr. Photo: Emma McIntyre by Getty Images*

Harvey Mason jr. 
CEO, The Recording Academy

Harvey, you've spoken extensively about your recent travels to a number of African countries. I've got to imagine those trips informed the new Best African Music Performance category.

Absolutely. I've done three trips to Africa in the last year. I spent a lot of time listening to and hearing from the music community there. There's such a massive amount of talent and creativity in that region, and we're starting to see that penetrating the U.S. market and global market — with Afrobeats and Amapiano and other African genres becoming so popular, driving the sound, and dictating the creativity of artists that are not from that region. You're seeing collaborations and features happening around those genres, which are becoming so popular and are moving the music landscape.  

During my time there, I heard from the African music industry, and they all felt like they weren't being represented in our GRAMMY Awards process. It was an eye-opening experience to see the love and respect for the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy from the continent of Africa. But it was also disheartening to think that they weren't being heard in our process. 

That's why I'm really excited about this new GRAMMY category. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of submissions we get and what impact that has on the genres coming from Africa. 

It's great to see the Recording Academy's purview spanning the entire African continent — not just popular sounds like Afrobeats or Afro Pop. 

It was important for us to make sure we tried to include as many genres as possible, knowing that we were not going to be able to put all the genres being created across the continent.  

We can't cover every genre as much as we'd like to and as much as they deserve to be recognized, so this is the first step toward a much bigger, more fruitful journey ahead. And we're not done as an Academy: We're making sure that we represent music from that region fairly and accurately. 

Read More: Love Burna Boy & Wizkid? Listen To These 5 African Genres 

Can you tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category? 

Deliberations were pretty brief and succinct. Everybody acknowledged the importance of the music coming from that region, and everyone was supportive of the idea. The conversation really centered mostly around the nomenclature — what we were going to call the category — and how we were going to ensure that we represented all the different music that's coming from the region fairly, accurately and inclusively. 

Once we realized we couldn't cover everything, we tried to find the sweet spot for making sure that the category was named properly and fairly and in a way that would invite participation from as many people as possible. 

Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here, as per its embrace of African music from across the continent? 

I'd love to see the Academy continue to make sure that we're respecting all music, not just Western music. And I'd like to see us continue to evolve as we have been these past three years: remaining fluid and accommodating, quickly and swiftly, as new genres and new markets emerge. 

We need to go deeper and in more detail within different genres of music. We know there are multiple different types of music — hundreds of genres, in fact — coming from Africa and from all 54 countries on the continent. I'd love to see us be able to honor even more music from Africa and other areas of the world. 

The future of the Recording Academy is going to build on equity. We're not just honoring music breaking in our country — we're celebrating music from around the world. 

Read More: 7 Incredible Sets From AfroNation Miami: WizKid, Uncle Waffles, Black Sherif & More 

Ghazi

*Ghazi. Photo: Jessica Chou* 

Ghazi 
CEO/Founder, EMPIRE 

Tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance category.  

When we first had Shawn Thwaites, [the Recording Academy's] genre manager for Global Music & African Music, at our EMPIRE headquarters in San Francisco, we discussed the potential for this category to come to life. Not only has African music exploded on a commercial level, which warrants recognition, but on a cultural level, its impact has been immeasurable. Behind the scenes, we focused on sharing information with the Recording Academy that would be valuable to their committee deciding on this category, the consumption and the growth, specifically in North America.  

One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?  

I think we'll see expanded categories in African music in the years to come, but this is a great start toward recognizing the merits and impact of African music. In the meantime, we look forward to working with the Recording Academy in putting together programming to help educate the current membership on the nuances and history of African music.  

This new GRAMMY category shows how the Recording Academy is truly a global entity with a global mission to support all music creators and professionals. Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here in its global mission to support the international music community? 

This is an exciting time in music. Fans are able to access any genre of music from any region of the world at any time. With that, it's inevitable that we'll see large-scale growth in international music in the coming years. It'll be imperative for the Recording Academy to establish a footprint, large or small, on every continent to work side by side with growing music communities around the world and support these artists and creators.  

Tunde Ajaba-Ogundipe

*Tunde Ajaba-Ogundipe. Photo: Harvard Business School* 

Tunde Ajaba-Ogundipe 
GM, African strategy at Sony Music 
Co-founder, No Wahala

Tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance category.

With the Latin community as a reference, we knew that if we could assemble a group of like-minded folks to push the inclusion of diverse African music categories using a long-game strategy, we would be able to try, learn from the misses, optimize, and try again until we found ourselves reaching our goal. We successfully saw that change greenlighted, with the [Best World Music Album] category officially being renamed to [Best Global Music Album] [in 2020].

Throughout the process of appealing to the Recording Academy to have this category added, a key factor was finding like-minded individuals within the organization to form cultural bonds, exchange knowledge, and champion the goal as a unit. We formed think tanks with key allies across the African, American and U.K. music industries, like Angelique Kidjo, Don Jazzy, John Legend, Juls, Riggs Morales, Sevi Spanoudi, Joy Wayodi, and Falu.

After the inclusion of the [Best Global Music Album] category in 2020, we were able to gauge how to collectively push for more inclusion via African music categories. I am grateful that everyone really rallied together to reach the end goal.

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?

I always remain an optimist [regarding] African music continuing to influence the global pop scene. With recent waves of music dominance from the current generation of African stars, like Burna Boy, CKay, Oxlade, Black Coffee, etc., I've witnessed many in the industry [mistakenly believe] that similar waves of global recognition of African Music haven't occurred in the past across genres.

I think it means more because of the way music is consumed today and how the African music business — and the business overall — has evolved. It's a lot more challenging to break acts with the attention spans of listeners being more finite now than ever before. Yet, African labels are finding their way into the current landscape.

That said, we should recognize the African icons of the past generations, like Babatunde Olatunji, Sade Adu, Ali Farka Touré, Angélique Kidjo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Seal, Sikiru Adepoju, Youssou N'Dour, RedOne, and more, for their wins across GRAMMY categories in the past. It's hard to imagine African music having this moment across the industry without those pioneers opening the doors in an era where it was harder than ever to gain a global audience. They still laid the groundwork, which inspired this generation — directly and indirectly.

[The Recording Academy has] always recognized the opportunities for amplification of African artists, songwriters and producers. I'm a direct witness to their advocacy, championing, and, in some cases, direct education in the past few years to ensure that gaps are bridged between African and diaspora communities and the organization. I'm excited to see the evolution that lies ahead for African music within the Recording Academy and beyond.

Shawn Thwaites

*Shawn Thwaites. Photo: Reid Fowler*

**Shawn Thwaites**
Project Manager, Awards, The Recording Academy 

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category?

African music has been a direct influence on America [and other countries]. The unique musical styles and traditions of Africa are too undiluted not to have its own category. Giving African music its own category would highlight and celebrate the diversity and richness of Africa. This is a great step forward! 

Can you tell me about the deliberations behind the scenes at the Recording Academy that led to the creation of the Best African Music Performance GRAMMY category? 

We met with African music leaders, including artists and executives, and had in-depth conversations on ideas like the name of the category. This collaboration and discussion was a valuable way to ensure that the category for African music was created and remains healthy.

**One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?**

The Recording Academy is a peer membership organization. Tracks will be considered by the merit of a song among the voting membership, regardless of its country of origin. This process includes a listening component where screeners are carefully selected to screen the music. 

Our product eligibility period for the 2024 GRAMMYs is Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 15, 2023. Eligible tracks/singles include vocal and instrumental performances, with strong elements of African cultural significance that blend a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content and/or musical representation found in Africa and the African diaspora.

**In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?**

By celebrating the diversity of African music, we can spread awareness through cultural exchange: more collaborations between artists of different genres and more artist relations between labels and executives in America. 

Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here in its global mission to support the international music community? 

By recognizing the talent and creativity of musicians from diverse backgrounds, the Recording Academy can promote greater understanding and create a more inclusive and diverse global music community. 

Rikki Stein

*Rikki Stein. Photo: Chantal Azari* 

Rikki Stein 
CEO, Kalakuta Sunrise LTD, a holding company for Knitting Factory Records and Partisan Records

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category?

Stein: I have long considered Africa as having a tremendous contribution to make in the world, which has yet to be seen and fully appreciated. One day, one day!

Meanwhile, the simplest and most easily accessible aspect of Africa's attributes is its cultural treasure, within which music takes pride of place. In clubs and venues throughout the world today, music from Africa is being enjoyed. Good reason, indeed, for including Best African Music Performance as a GRAMMY category!

One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?

Stein: There are certainly a plethora of young [artists] vying for well-earned attention, but let's not forget the previous generation of artists whose music continues to delight fans across the globe.

As Fela Kuti's friend, manager and defender of his legacy, I derive great satisfaction, 25 years after his passing, from seeing the millions of monthly streams of his music. And when I look more deeply into where people are listening to his 50-album catalog, I discover it's everywhere! Khazakstan, Jakarta, Reykjavik, Osaka, as well as the more predictable U.S. and European destinations. So let's not forget the golden oldies!

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?

Stein: As a promoter of African music for over 50 years and having spent many of those years banging my head against a glass ceiling, I'm able to give a sigh of relief at seeing serious cracks appearing in that ludicrous structure which — who knows — may well even burst asunder and be no more!

So, let's big up the GRAMMYs and the Recording Academy for making this major contribution to its demise.

Juls

*Julian "Juls" Nicco-Annan. Photo: Dbcaptures*

Julian "Juls" Nicco-Annan 
Record producer, DJ and songwriter

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category?

I think it is an amazing addition to the category, given the fact that Africa has a massive impact on music and culture worldwide. It's important for the roots of African culture and sounds to be showcased on a higher stage such as the GRAMMYs to show the world how powerful and influential our sound is. African pop music and culture have been on the steady rise for the last 15 years. It's great to see the GRAMMYs finally take the step to make this happen for us and the continent.

One could spend several lifetimes exploring the diversity of African music. How do you begin to boil all those sounds down to a small list of nominees?

This is where it gets tough. People love to look at West Africa and South Africa predominantly because currently, those sides of the continent are at the forefront.

But East Africa has given birth to some incredible talent. It's important for Africans to push forward to become Recording Academy members, so they can have a voice to push their talent. Experts from different sides of the continent have to advocate. Representation is so important.

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry?

I think a bit more research into who has been shaping the sound over the last few years is important. Engaging with many who have been documenting the journey of the genre [is important] as well. An African GRAMMYs show would be incredible. Latin America has one, and it has been incredibly successful over the years. 

This new GRAMMY category shows how the Recording Academy is truly a global entity with a global mission to support all music creators and professionals. Where would you like to see the Recording Academy go from here in its global mission to support the international music community? 

We need more members and more seminars to educate the artists and management back home about the [GRAMMY Awards] process and actually explain things properly. There's a massive disconnect — that gap should be bridged.

What are some African music albums, songs or artists you're personally enjoying right now and would like to shout out?

At the moment, Davido dropped an incredible body of work, Timeless, with the hit record "Unavailable." Worlasi from Ghana dropped a very in-depth and incredible album called The.rap.y, which touches on social issues men and women face; very deep album. I released a single with South African sensation Ami Faku called "Terrified" and J Hus' new record, "Who Told You."

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Mobolaji Kareem

*Mobolaji Kareem. Photo courtesy of EMPIRE*

**Mobolaji Kareem**
Regional Head West Africa, EMPIRE

Why is it important that the Recording Academy created the Best African Music Performance category? 

Africa has a rich and vibrant history with 54 diverse countries. There are just as many, if not more, genres of music across the continent, so it's viable to have this category as a starting point that can help define the music coming from here. With this category, a lot more artists/songs … can now have their own stage to compete and be celebrated globally. 

In general, what does the international music industry need to do to elevate and honor the African music community and industry? 

The African music landscape has exploded globally and needs to continue to be exposed to the masses to help promote inclusivity and appreciation for the art.

Every mainstream music or sporting event, radio station, and beyond should have African music as part of the program to allow for maximum impact. African voices also need to be represented and involved in the decision-making, so this is a crucial step taken by the Recording Academy to give the music coming out of this continent the exposure and reach it deserves.

What are some African music albums, songs or artists you're personally enjoying right now and would like to shout out?  

Burna Boy - Love Damini
Asake -
Work of Art

Black Sherif -
The Villain I Never Was
Bad Boy Timz -
No Bad Boy, No Party

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