Announced via a Twitter “moment,” this year’s Grammys Album category has no white men for the first time in 19 years.
This year’s nominees are Childish Gambino, JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Lorde.
It’s the first time this has happened since 1999, when Garbage, Lauryn Hill, Madonna, Sheryl Crow and Shania Twain were nominated.
It’s a fitting response to last year’s criticism when Adele’s 25 won over Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Adele herself made mention of it in her speech and broke her Grammy in half in a perfect Mean Girls when-life-replicates-art moment.
Before that, Taylor Swift’s 1989 beat out Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, and in 2014, Beck’s Morning Phase won over Beyoncé’s self-titled album.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow told Variety the Grammy history moment is due to the pool of around 1,300 voting members, and the fact that for the first time, the Grammys opened up online voting.
“The results are reflecting the music of the times — hip-hop and urban music is pervasive in our society worldwide — not just in America,” Portnow said. “So when that continues to be evident and evolve, this is a reflection of that.”
While those playing at home initially believed the Album of the Year category would feature hitmaker Ed Sheeran and his global #1 Divide, the record features in the Pop album category.
Neil Portnow has addressed Ed Sheeran’s absence in the Album of the Year category
“It’s gonna come down to five in each category, so hard choices have to be made,” he said. “In my opinion there’s not one Grammy [category] that’s more important or valuable than any other — they just represent different elements of the craft. In terms of Ed and the recordings he made, certainly our voters thought highly of him and he is nominated [for two awards]. In terms of where he’s nominated, that’s our members’ call and I have to respect that.
The 60th annual Grammy Awards air January 28 on CBS.