Grammys Rename World Music Category Due to “Connotations of Colonialism”

    In 1991, the Grammys introduced the world music album category, which was intended to recognize “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.” Now, the Recording Academy has announced that the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album has been renamed Best Global Music Album.

    A statement explaining the Recording Academy’s decision 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. 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.”

    This year, the award went to Angélique Kidjo for her album Celia. Earlier this year, the Recording Academy also renamed its “urban” categories. The nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards will be announced on November 24 at 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET.

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