This year the Grammys had the smallest audience since 2008. In a random survey, only 1 out of 10 students watched the Grammys. Why? The Grammys are supposed to be the biggest celebration of music in America. Why are the Grammys falling out of public importance?
The short answer is that the Grammys fail to bring an audience with younger generations. Millennials and Gen X are the most dominant demographics in the music industry right now, but the Grammys are failing to change to meet our moral values. We as a generation value women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, and equality, in general, more than any other generation. With the work of older generations, we have made it so that racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia are no longer publicly acceptable. However, the Grammys still support the same old fashioned views that our generation will no longer support.
One of the biggest artists at the Grammys this year was Tyler the Creator. Student Luke Mellom says “The thing is that early on he did a lot of rap to kind of fit in. But, over time he has really found himself into music that is emotional and storytelling that doesn’t really fit a genre. I guess I could really go on forever about it.” Tyler himself in an interview addressed this in an interview saying, “I’m half and a half on it [the Grammys], on one side I’m very grateful that what I made could just be, you know, acknowledged in a world like this. But also, it sucks that we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything, they always put in rap or urban catalog category” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5a42MwoYsw). With a rise in black artists and positive black representation in the media, this idea of a huge event like the Grammys still supporting views that are inherently racist is frankly shocking.
Another example of how the Grammys are doing things that our generation doesn’t support is the Deborah Dugan Scandal. Dugan, the Academy Chief Executive of the Grammys, was fired 10 days before the Grammys. She had recently admitted to being sexually harassed. According to the Rolling Stone, “Joel Katz, had sexually harassed her, and that former CEO Neil Portnow had been accused of raping a foreign recording artist and Academy member.” Instead of being celebrated for speaking out against sexual harassment, she was accused of being an abusive boss and fired. With the rise of the #MeToo movement and growing support for women’s rights, there was a huge backlash after Dugan was fired.