On Tuesday morning, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 2018 Grammy Awards, the music industry’s highest honor. And while there are a few exciting nods in some of the smaller categories, all eyes are on the showdown for the grand prize of the evening: the trophy for album of the year.
The nominees in that prestigious category? Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino, 4:44 by Jay-Z, Damn. by Kendrick Lamar, Melodrama by Lorde and 24k Magic by Bruno Mars.
Who will win the top prize of the evening — and how does the diversity of this year’s nominees stack up against that of past nominees? Here are three key takeaways from the race for album of the year, which will have a winner when the 60th Annual Grammy Awards take place in New York City on Jan. 28.
A woman of color won’t win it. Again.
When Adele’s 25 beat Beyonce’s Lemonade for album of the year during the 2017 ceremony, it sparked a firestorm on social media. The specific cause for the controversy was over whether Lemonade, which probes what it means to be a black woman in a nation that denigrates the worth of black women, lost because it was “too black” for Grammy voters.
While it’s entirely possible that a man of color may win the evening’s top honor at the 2018 ceremony, none of the nominees for album of the year are women of color. And that, of course, makes it impossible for a woman of color to win the award come January.
This continues an unfortunate trend that’s been running for almost 20 years: A black woman hasn’t won this particular award since Lauryn Hill in 1999. Norah Jones, whose father is Indian, won in 2003.
Men of color dominate nominees for top spot.
While it’s unfortunate that we’ll be going another year without an album of the year victory for a woman of color, it’s worth noting that in 2017, all but one of the nominees — again, Lorde — are people of color. That hasn’t happened since 2005, when Ray Charles won the award for Genius Loves Company over Green Day, Alicia Keys, Usher and Kanye West.
No white men were nominated for album of the year.
Though many thought it would be the year of Ed Sheeran, his fans were left outraged when the Recording Academy snubbed the singer’s Divide for album of the year.
But Sheeran wasn’t the only white dude who got snubbed in the top Grammy category: In fact, all of them were.
That’s pretty rare: We haven’t had a year where a white man (or white man-fronted band) hasn’t been nominated for album of the year since 1999, when Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Madonna’s Ray of Light, Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions, Garbage’s Version 2.0 and Shania Twain’s Come on Over were all in consideration for the award.
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Comedian James Corden will host.