The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category to the list of nominees that would nominate albums that have recorded or performed in a variety of African musical cultures to reflect the many facets of these art forms.
With the help of hip-hop star Killer Mike — who is the executive producer of this proposed Grammy category — the Grammys could soon be considering albums from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal.
“The Grammys were the first to recognize rap in its full form and the Afrobeats category could be the next evolution of the music category,” Killer Mike told Billboard. “We want to recognize the diversity of music across the world and recognize the talent of African-American music artists who are creating music in this new frontier.”
Killer Mike made this suggestion in a statement to Billboard.com, arguing that the Afrobeats category could help “to elevate and shine a spotlight on the diverse culture of African-American music.”
“The Grammy’s could be the first to recognize the significance of Afrobeats because they are recognized by the music community and the general public,” Killer Mike added. “If we are to be taken seriously then the Grammy’s needs to honor the music and artists who break down the barriers and break down the stereotypes because there is really no such thing as a stereotype.”
The Afrobeats categories have not been considered by any other award show, although there have been proposals to add them to the Grammy Awards, which are presented annually and voted upon by the public.
Several notable African-American artists have expressed their support for this movement, including actor and producer Eddie Murphy.
“We are making history. One step at a time,” Murphy wrote on his blog. “Let’s not make too much noise about this. Let’s just make it work. Let’s figure out how the Grammys will best recognize artists in this genre and maybe then let’s get back to business.”
Murphy also noted that “There’s a huge, huge African-American music scene in America and in Africa and in Asia. And all across the globe. And it is exciting to me to see the evolution of this thing… and to see what new generations of people will be able to access it because there is so much music in the world.”
Other notable African-American musicians have expressed surprise at this proposal.