Music, News & Events

Grammys drops ‘Urban’ from the R&B category

We don’t know how to feel.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jun 24, 2020

As a way to make the nominating process and rules “more transparent and fair,” The Grammys rules and guidelines are now publicly available for the first time. Another big change they’ve done this week is drop the word ‘urban’.

They used to award for the ‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ – in which they would select artists from the R & B category. Now renamed to ‘Best Progressive R&B Album’ in order to “appropriately categorize and describe this subgenre.” Another statement they shared stated the change is, “to reflect its ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape”

The Grammys removal followed Republic Record’s announcement of the term and senior music executives in the UK removing the word “urban” from all major UK music companies. It makes me think that this was a sink or swim tactic rather than a genuine response to the current state of the world.

I think it’s funny that massive corporations have only just caught on to the fact that ‘urban’ is offensive. And I think it’s embarrassing that a big brand (like the Grammys) are not noting the fact that the change is a way to fight the war on racism, but instead changing to appease their audience and industry. Their reasoning doesn’t exactly scream ally.