Going into the 2017 Grammy Awards, black artists were zero for seven in the past seven years for the category of album of the year, the show's final and most prestigious award. Beyoncé's loss to Adele's 25 made it eight. Hearing her name read out was like a death knell across the auditorium; Lemonade had fallen. It seemed a brief vindication for the Grammys boycott, led by Frank Ocean and Kanye West, intended to protest the Grammys' treatment of black art and artists.
By the end of the night, Solange Knowles, it seems, was on board to join the boycott. After Beyoncé's loss, she shared a recent Ocean post clarifying his stance on his boycott, adding the brief caption "wuddup frank."
The post she shared specifically saw Ocean clapping back against Grammy producers Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild, who gave a recent interview with Rolling Stone calling Ocean's 2013 performance "faulty" and "not great TV." They attempted to write off his boycott as a means of not having to repeat that.
He set them straight in his Tumblr post. "You think that’s why I kept my work out of the Grammy process this year?" he wrote, addressing them directly. "Don’t you think I would’ve wanted to play the show to ‘redeem’ myself if I felt that way?"
Ocean accused the Grammys of "cultural bias," citing 2016's egregious snub in which Taylor Swift's 1989 won album of the year over Kendrick Lamar's dense, reverent To Pimp a Butterfly:
Winning a TV award doesn’t christen me successful. It took me some time to learn that. ... I’ve actually been tuning into CBS around this time of year for a while to see who gets the top honor and you know what’s really not 'great TV’ guys? 1989 getting album of the year over To Pimp A Butterfly. Hands down one of the most 'faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen.
It seems we had another one on our hands last night, with the critical favorite who just happens to be a black R&B artist losing to a white radio darling.
Even Adele didn't want to take album of the year over Beyoncé. After Adele's name was read out for the final award of the night, the British star came back out after just having accepted record of the year in tears.
"I can't possibly accept this award," Adele said. "My artist of my life is Beyoncé and this album for me, the Lemonade album, was just so monumental ... all us artists here adore you. You are our light."
The Grammys clearly don't see it that way, but they'll have a lot of time before next year's race begins to re-evaluate about what they value in music, lest they lose even more black stars on the red carpet.