The Grammys nominations: are black or female artists getting short shrift?

Forty years ago, I worked for the Recording Academy as a media relations manager. My task was to make the studios sound good to the press. I was informed that “most of them have no business ever going anywhere near them”. Even after I left the academy, I was never invited to the building, a legendarily boring bus station near the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was first built in 1950 as an exhibition centre. No major labels had an office there until the mid-60s. That led to the disincentive of a red carpet.

When U2 was honoured in 2009, one of the things Neil Portnow, then president of the academy, said was that U2 had never received a Grammy. He doubled down on that claim at the Grammys earlier this year, but was forced to admit he had been misinformed. (Portnow resigned from the academy in disgrace after the nominations were announced.)

The Grammys nominations are announced on 8 December. Will Drake snub the Grammys and then fire up his back to Los Angeles with his own 30-minute Drake diss track?

Meanwhile, Neil Portnow’s disgraced former “chief diversity officer” resigned last week after it emerged that he had stepped down in August. Seth Kaufman came under fire after sharing a Washington Post blogpost critical of the Grammys’ lack of diversity. But his employer was surprised by the particular blogpost Kaufman shared.

Three of the best albums of the year, Jorja Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, Donald Glover’s Awaken, My Love! and Anderson .Paak’s Malibu, are left with no nomination; the album of the year is held by Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. Its success comes as little surprise: the album was billed as “cardi B’s greatest achievement” and nabbed five awards at the VMAs.

Don’t be surprised if it wins all the Grammys. If you were betting on the winner, it would be Drake in all the big categories – album, record, song, director. If Drake snubs the Grammys and then fires up his back to Los Angeles with his own 30-minute Drake diss track, be prepared for a lot of paparazzi attention.

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