Is 2017 the year for black music artists to be recognised?


Just a few weeks ago, we saw an increase in the number of nominated black artists for the Brit Awards. They came under fire last year when there was clearly a lack of diversity in the nominees and winners. This year they attempted to fix this problem with more nominations for young black talented musicians. However, the only black artist who won was Emeli Sande.

There was no repetition of #BritSoWhite campaign to show that there is a lack of black artists nominated. The organisers even promised “more effectively acknowledge diverse, breaking and established talent in the future”.

Sande, who undoubtedly is a worthy winner, even expressed her opinion by saying only a particular type of black music is allowed to reach those heights: a more ‘respectable type of black music, the type that does not mean 30 men dressed in black taking over a stage, like when Kanye brought a number of MC’s on stage during the 2015 awards which caused an uproar.

There was another feeling that grime artists should have been appreciated by being nominated, this was of course an improvement from last year. A stand out comment by Viola Davis said at the SAG Awards, “inclusion, not diversity” should be a priority for those in power. If it only means that black artists get invited to the awards, then inclusion is about picking up the slice of cake at the end.

The likes of Stormzy and Skepta who were present at the awards, again showed them exactly why it is going to be hard to shut them out of the door. They are just as talented as anybody, especially representing their genre.Sadly, it did end up with Stormzy leaving empty handed.

However, it was promotional to his album Gang Signs & Prayer which was released on Friday 24th February. So far in the charts it has done with and is currently in the top ten. Come Friday this week, it will show where it is and how it has performed since releasing.

Besides those artists, there is a case load of other artists who are making a name for themselves. Talent such as AJ Tracey, Dave, Nadia Rose, Stefflon Don, just to name a few. Next time it will be difficult to swerve by their talent and commercial power.

Although an award may not ‘define you’, they are an indication that you are being recognised for your talent regardless of your background, skin colour and culture that you are from. Some may argue that they cannot relate to black artists and their lyrical content spread through their songs. But there are plenty of people out there who can and are tired of not seeing their favourite artist credited for the music they are enjoying.


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