Why It is Essential That Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ Is Nominated For Finest Dance/Digital Music Album

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Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer’s Information & Tradition Editor. When…

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If Beyoncé had been to win, this could make her the second Black artist to win the award.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that Beyoncé‘s Renaissance has been nominated for Finest Dance/Digital Music Album for the 2023 Grammy Awards. Even earlier than the album arrived in late July, followers might safely assume that the pop star was going to discover dance music and its many kinds because of “Break My Soul,” the Massive Freedia-featuring lead single that was one thing of a religious successor to beloved home anthem “Present Me Love” by Robin S. As soon as the album lastly dropped, it was clear that Bey wasn’t simply referencing dance music, however Black dance music, relating Chicago home, Detroit techno, ballroom, disco and extra.

Nonetheless, though it was clearly a dance album, the Recording Academy’s dance committee didn’t initially see Renaissance as such, which just about led to the album not being thought of as a nominee for Finest Dance/Digital Music Album — though Beyoncé submitted the album particularly for that class.

As The Hollywood Reporter wrote again in late October, the dance committee felt that Renaissance “is likely to be higher positioned in pop, the place it will be nominated for greatest pop vocal album alongside tasks by Adele, Harry Types, Lizzo and extra.”

“The talk landed within the fingers of the academy’s Nationwide Screening Committee — a gaggle of music business specialists together with songwriters, producers, musicologists and extra — who listened to Renaissance a number of instances to find out the place it ought to compete,” the report continued. “That group — which additionally selects which artists are eligible for greatest new artist — finally determined that Beyoncé’s venture needs to be in rivalry in dance.”

It’s attention-grabbing that the album being submitted for this class led to a debate (though it’s price noting that, in keeping with the report, no questioned if “Break My Soul” ought to compete in dance on the Grammys), however different music establishments like Billboard even appeared to have an issue with itemizing it as an official dance album, too. Because the report famous, though “Break My Soul” appeared on each Billboard’s Dance and R&B Songs charts, it didn’t seem on its Prime Dance/Digital Albums chart (though Drake’s personal dance-centric album Actually, Nevermind did).

It’s a second that brings to thoughts how Lil Nas X’s “Previous City Street” led to debate on what’s and isn’t nation music, and the way the hit tune was faraway from Billboard‘s Sizzling Nation Songs chart early on and solely obtained one nomination on the 2019 Nation Music Awards for “Musical Occasion of the Yr” (which it gained).

That the Recording Academy virtually eliminated Renaissance from the dance class would’ve been a misstep that confirmed simply how restricted their view of dance music is, regardless of the album being a primarily dance-centric venture. On a bigger stage, it will’ve added to the erasure of Black folks’s contributions to digital dance music (EDM). Particularly with regard to Bey, it will’ve dismissed what was a very intentional ode to Black dance music, in addition to a reclaiming of the style as a Black style, too. And lastly, it will’ve stopped her from making historical past throughout the class. Final yr was the primary time within the Grammys’ historical past {that a} Black artist gained the award for Finest Dance/Digital Music Album, which was Kaytranada’s Bubba. If Bey had been to win, she’d be the second Black artist to obtain the award ever.

So, it’s vital that Renaissance is nominated for Finest Dance/Digital Album, as a result of it deserves to be acknowledged on this class. To acknowledge it isn’t just for Bey however the group of Black artists throughout the style she tapped to assist her carry the album to life — from DJ and producer Honey Dijon to tug legend Moi Renee.


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