Grammy Awards To Omit ‘Urban’ Term As Part Of Recording Academy Rule Changes

Grammy Awards
Recording Academy

The Recording Academy has announced several rule changes for the 63rd Grammy Awards, including omitting the term “urban” from its awards categories and language.

The academy is changing the name of the urban contemporary album category to progressive R&B album. The word “urban” has been subject to increasing criticism, most recently by Tyler, the Creator, who called it “a politically correct way to say the N-word” at the January ceremony. Republic Records said last week that it would no longer use the term “urban” to describe music by black artists. Other rule changes include updates to the Best New Artist category, Latin, R&B and Rap Fields and Nominations Review Committees. You can see some of the changes, which take effect immediately, in detail below.

“We’re constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the Grammy Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “The Academy accepts proposals for rule changes from members of the music community throughout the year that are carefully reviewed and, if accepted, ultimately ratified at our annual Board meeting, a process that we are proud to have continued in this challenging year.” Chief Awards Officer Bill Freimuth also noted that the academy is constantly reevaluating the process to better reflect how the industry has evolved over the past 12 months.


Best Urban Contemporary Album Category — Renamed and Redefined

Best Urban Contemporary Album has been renamed Best Progressive R&B Album to appropriately categorize and describe this subgenre. This change includes a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B.

Best Rap/Sung Performance Category — Renamed and Redefined

Best Rap/Sung Performance has been renamed Best Melodic Rap Performance to represent the inclusivity of the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre.

Latin Field: Placement of Latin Urban Recordings — Reclassify

Latin Pop Album has been renamed Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album and Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album has been renamed Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album to migrate the genres of Latin urban and represent the current state and prominent representation in the Latin urban genres.

Best New Artist — Eligibility

There is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering the Best New Artist category. As such, the screening committees will be charged with determining whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year. Such a determination would result in disqualification.

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