Grammys' Decision Not to Honor Natalie Cole Speaks Volumes About Women of Color in Music

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

You'd barely know Natalie Cole if it were up to Monday's Grammy Awards ceremony. She was relegated to a flash of her face during the "In memoriam" segment, despite lengthy tributes to artists like Lionel Richie and David Bowie.

If you don't know Cole, know this: She was the first black person to win the Grammy for best new artist in 1976. Since then, this Grammy Queen went on to win a whopping nine Grammys, her last one being in 2009 for best traditional pop vocal album.

Cole's omission points to a larger problem regarding the Grammys and women of color. Like the Oscars, the Grammys are so white. According to Fusionwhite men have been nominated for album of the year at the Grammys 49 times more than any other racial and gender group. In fact, Paul McCartney alone has won the Grammy for album of the year more times than all women of color combined. 

People on Twitter were quick to highlight the hypocrisy. 

Timolin Cole, Natalie Cole's sister, told the New York Post, "Where is the tribute to our sister?" 

"It's very bittersweet," she said. "We were hoping that there will be some sort of actual tribute fitting of her artistry and stature. She had 21 Grammy nominations and nine wins. She was such a force in the music industry, and she transcended genres ... I think she should be recognized for the impact she has had."

Given Kendrick Lamar's loss to Taylor Swift this year and Beyoncé's loss to Beck last year, maybe it's time for a #GrammysSoWhite campaign? 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

MORE FROM

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

California bans state-funded travel to Texas, 3 more states because of anti-LGBTQ laws

California isn't keen on sending people to these anti-LGBTQ states.

US military officials seek to delay allowing transgender people to enlist

The U.S. military was given until July 1, 2017, to begin allowing transgender people to enlist.

High school senior recreates Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' album cover for his graduation cap

This is a cap that Queen Bey would be proud of.

No, James Comey did not make an incognito visit to the 'New York Times'

Comey was attending a charity event to benefit foster children at another company.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

California bans state-funded travel to Texas, 3 more states because of anti-LGBTQ laws

California isn't keen on sending people to these anti-LGBTQ states.

US military officials seek to delay allowing transgender people to enlist

The U.S. military was given until July 1, 2017, to begin allowing transgender people to enlist.

High school senior recreates Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' album cover for his graduation cap

This is a cap that Queen Bey would be proud of.

No, James Comey did not make an incognito visit to the 'New York Times'

Comey was attending a charity event to benefit foster children at another company.