Feb 1, 2024 - Business

Grammys to give African music its own award

Rows of Grammy trophies

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Sunday will mark the first time African music will be recognized as a category at the Grammys.

Why it matters: Although the continent's artists have won golden gramophones since 1966, this is the first year they will compete in their own genre.

  • Historically, the musicians have been nominated and awarded in the "Global Music" categories.

Yes, but: With the growing popularity of Afrobeats in the United States, the Recording Academy decided that those artists needed their own lane.

What they're saying: "The Grammys have historically been late to recognize movements and sounds that have impacted people culturally," Steve Stoute, CEO of UnitedMasters, tells Axios. "They were very late on hip-hop, [and hip-hop had] to fight to be recognized, and Afrobeats has done that as well. … It's mainstream music."

  • The longtime music exec has recently done work to elevate artists in Nigeria. "I wish I would have done it sooner," Stoute said.

State of play: Here are the five nominees for the inaugural Best African Music Performance:

  • "Amapiano" by ASAKE & Olamide
  • "City Boys" by Burna Boy
  • "Unavailable" by Davido ft. Musa Keys
  • "Rush" by Ayra Starr
  • "Water" by Tyla

What's next: The Grammys will air at 8pm ET Sunday on CBS.

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