Monday, January 27, 2014

Macklemore's Apology to Kendrick Lamar Includes a Twinge of White Guilt

After winning the Best New Artist and Best Rap Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards, Macklemore felt that Kendrick Lamar was more deserving of the honor(s).  A feeling he took to social media to express:
This win came on the heels of a little controversy surrounding Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and their inclusion in the rap category.  The official rap committee of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences moved to have the duo excluded from the category citing their closer ties to pop rather than rap music.  The attempt was overruled by a general Grammy committee by an overwhelming majority vote.
I think it was big of  Macklemore to express what he feels to be the truth regarding who he felt deserved the industry accolades.  
However, I would say Macklemore's seeming guilt over personally having robbed Kendrick of the honor(s) is misplaced.  He, nor Kendrick, had a choice in the matter, and more importantly had no power to decide the outcome.  An individual artist isn't at fault; it's the structure of mainstream award bodies who recognize the more consumer-friendly persona (as defined by them) than shining the spotlight on the best talent in the selection period.
Siding with one artist or the other creates a false sense of blame as opposed to fans recognizing that the most impactful artist may never be the pop/ular choice (not a typo).
In the end, neither Kendrick Lamar nor Macklemore need the validation of a group whose interest seems not to be highlighting all artists and their unique contributions, regardless of their record deal status or social acceptability. Music fans make known the artists they feel and these true fans won't have their choices decided by prime-time glam expositions.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world..."While The World Watched Grammys; US Bombs Somalia"