Grammy Awards Rename ‘World Music Album’ Category To ‘Global Music Album’ To Avoid ‘Connotations Of Colonialism


Grammy Awards have changed the name of their “best world music album” category to the “best global music album”, an attempt to find “a more relevant, modern and inclusive term”.

In a new statement, Recording Academy, organizers of Grammy awards, stressed that it;

Symbolizes a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk and ‘non-American’ that the former term embodied.

The world music album category was first introduced in 1991 to highlight 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.

The statement reads;

As we continue to embrace a truly global mindset, we update our language to reflect a more appropriate categorization that seeks to engage and celebrate the current scope of music from around the world.

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 added;

The change symbolizes 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.

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 step comes about five months after the Academy made changes to several Grammy Awards categories, including renaming the “best urban contemporary album” category to “best progressive R&B album”.

It also follows a similar recent step made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which changed the name of its best foreign-language film for Oscar awards to best international feature film.

The Grammys created the best world music album category in 1992, with winners since including Ravi ShankarGilberto GilSoweto Gospel Choir and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and three-time recipient Angélique Kidjo.

The nominations for the 2021 Grammys will be announced on November 24.

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