Music Award Shows: I don’t give a shit

Honestly, I don’t care and neither should you.

At one of our weekly Impact Music section meetings, we decided to join forces with our lovely friends over at the Comment Section. During our meeting, our Comment editor asked whether we were covering the BRITs. My thought was that we probably should, but at the same time, meh.

Now, this piece has been cooking in the back of my head for a while now; unfortunately, the BRITs happened on the day I found time in my schedule to write this piece.

AWARDS DO NOT VALIDATE YOU AS AN ARTIST. I wish I could say they’re not important but they are, as they’re amongst the most watched events of the year (along with sports finals like the Champions League Final), but all they really do is get a bunch of winners and list them in different categories, just to tell the majority of the winners that they are actually losers.

“I can rap you the lyrics to ‘Dear Mama’ by Tupac Shakur but I couldn’t tell you who Naughty By Nature were to save my life”

So many producers and artists I speak to will say “one day I’ll win a Grammy” or “one day I’ll win A BRIT” but rarely do I hear “one day I’ll be a great artist” or “I wanna be remembered as a legend”, which I feel is more important.

When your mum puts an old mixtape CD in her car or checks on her playlist and tells you that you know nothing about music, does she ever tell you: “OOOH do you know how many Grammys this person won?”

That’s because that has little effect in terms of cementing your place in the history books. It’s the effect that you have on fans that counts. I can rap you the lyrics to ‘Dear Mama’ by Tupac Shakur but I couldn’t tell you who Naughty By Nature were to save my life, but they were the recipients of Rap Album of the Year over Tupac’s Me Against The World in 1996.  

I wish I could tell artists to disregard award shows altogether, but they do provide great PR and sometimes allow artists to get the recognition they deserve; for example, Chance the Rapper’s album streams increased 206% after the Grammys. They also give us phenomenal moments such as the Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons collaboration. However, all in all, I feel we put too much pressure on what these awards represent.

Validation shouldn’t come from ‘music experts’ who vote on what they like the best, or what they think is the most creative album. Music is about making the world a little bit less shitty, and I doubt the people on these voting committees know more about what you want to listen to than your favourite Spotify playlist, your favourite radio host, your friends, or more importantly, you.

“There are other ways of winning; I mean, did you see Stormzy absolutely shut down with Ed Sheeran?”

In terms of the misrepresentation debate, shout out to the BRITs because they saw an issue and moved to fix it, unlike other awards shows (Grammys). At the end of the day (my ‘urban music listeners’), the BRITs aren’t for us. While it’s finally a bit more representative, I doubt I’ll see a day when I’ll enjoy the BRITs more than the BET Hip Hop Awards, Soul Train or more locally, the Rated Awards. This opens up another debate about how we should put more energy into supporting our own platforms.

So, to close, if you get nominated for an award, take it, because people still care about that shit and it’s good for press releases and general business, but if you lost and your album got good numbers, you have fans on twitter harassing you about how your music helps them get through their day, don’t let a voting board of outdated, out of touch music lovers tell you you’re a loser. And there are other ways of winning; I mean, did you see Stormzy absolutely shut down with Ed Sheeran?

Joshua Ogunmokun

Image courtesy of Paal. K via Flickr

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