Grammy Awards Change Name of ‘World Music’ Category to ‘Global Music’ to Address ‘Connotations of Colonialism’

Jem Aswad
·2-min read

Anyone who thinks the Recording Academy takes something like changing the name of a Grammy Awards category lightly should take a gander at the letter that went to members Monday: After extensive deliberation, the decision has been made to change the World Music Album category to Global Music Album.

“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,” the letter reads.

“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 World Music Album category toward a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term.”

“As a result,” the letter continues in bold type, “the decision was made, alongside the community, to change the World Music Album category to Global Music Album.

“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.

“Global Music will continue to provide a home for influential music from all parts of the globe yet bringing with it a fresh perspective fueled by authenticity, diversity, and direct inclusion into our process.”

The move met with approval from at least two artists. Nigerian singer Bankulli, who is featured on Beyonce’s “Lion King” album, said, “Global Music provides a more inclusive awards platform to artists from relevant new genres. The term is encompassing of what is happening today and looks to the future for better representation.”

Haitian DJ-producer Michael Brun added, “Global Music is the future of music. As the world continues to become more interconnected, music culture no longer has borders. The fusion of sounds breeds innovation, and global music artists are at the forefront of that movement. I’m happy to see the Recording Academy working to adapt to the changing landscape and celebrate excellence from around the globe.”

The change follows the Academy’s decision last spring to cease using the term “urban” in its awards and language, along with updates to the Best New Artist category, Latin, R&B and Rap Fields, Nominations Review Committees, the Recording Academy will make the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines book publicly available for the first time — and available here.

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