Justin Bieber is making a really good point about the Grammy categories??


Twice a year, we have conversations about the Grammys and racism. We have that conversation when the nominations come out and we almost always see a slew of Black artists snubbed in favor of (often mediocre) white artists. Then we have another version of the same conversation the day after the Grammys, when the handful of Black artists who were nominated in the big categories lose in those categories. In recent memory, Macklemore winning over Kendrick Lamar and Adele winning over Beyonce (for arguably Beyonce’s best album, Lemonade!!). Just this year, at the 2020 Grammys, Tyler the Creator spoke of the racism of which categories Black artists are shoved into. His brilliant album IGOR won the Grammy for Best Rap Album, and Tyler said, in part:

“I’m very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this, but also it sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending, or anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that urban word, it’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word to me. When I hear that, I’m just like, why can’t we just be in pop? Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment.”

[From The Fader]

I bring up this backstory because it’s been happening for decades and it always happens to Black artists. This year, something like “reverse racism” happened. Justin Bieber – a white artist – was snubbed in the big categories despite having one of the biggest albums of the year. His album, Changes, picked up nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album and “Intentions” got nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The problem? Justin Bieber made an R&B album. He was *trying* to get nominated in the “urban” categories and they shoved the white guy into the Pop categories. LMAO. From Justin’s social media:

“To the Grammys… I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry. I am very meticulous and intentional about my music. With that being said, I set out to make an R&B album. ‘Changes’ was and is an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album, which is very strange to me. I grew up admiring R&B music and wished to make a project that would embody that sound. For this not to be put into that category feels weird, considering from the chords to the melodies to the vocal style, all the way down to the hip-hop drums that were chosen, it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B album!

“To be clear, I absolutely love Pop music, it was just wasn’t what I set out to make this time around. My gratitude for feeling respected for my work remains and I am honored to be nominated either way.”

He added in a comment, “Please don’t mistake this as me being ungrateful, these are just my thoughts take em or leave em. Thank you to the people who fought for me to even have any noms.”

[JB’s Instagram Via Variety]

I’ll say it… I f–king love that Justin Bieber is starting this particular fight. It might actually take a white guy to point out how fraudulent these Grammy categorizations really are, and how Black artists are constantly shoved into “urban” categories (regardless of their sound) and white artists are shoved into pop/rock categories, regardless of their sound. LET BIEBER MAKE AN R&B ALBUM. Damn.

Justin Bieber steps out in all Drew House merch for SNL rehearsals

Photos courtesy of Bieber’s Instagram and Backgrid.

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45 Responses to “Justin Bieber is making a really good point about the Grammy categories??”

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  1. Oh_Hey says:

    I said on the other Grammy post – I hat the Biebs but he’s right. And it made might take a white artist saying the thing to her something changed. Like years ago Drake, one of the biggest artist out for a while, was nominated for “Hotline Bling” for best rap song and him and everyone else gave it the side eye because it’s a poppy little bop.

  2. Oh_Hey says:

    Edit- duplicate

  3. Fh says:

    Am I dumb? But i thought the artists submitted their albums for consideration in certain categories? So wouldn’t he have to submit it to the pop category to get it nominated for that? Or is he saying he submitted it for r&b but they nominated it for pop anyway?

    • LULU wang was robbed says:

      You’re not dumb in the slightest.
      There’s a record of Bieber’s category submissions for the forthcoming Grammys and they’re all in pop. He’s just making a stink because he’s a gross little twerp.

  4. Hamda Farah says:

    I don’t sympathise with Bieber at all, he shouldn’t have got nominated, and they snobbed the Weeknd

  5. Watson says:

    Yup. It’s all correct. There’s a reason why Beyonce doesn’t care about the Grammy’s anymore.

  6. Beyonce says:

    Am I supposed to agree that the album which had tracks like Yummy and Intentions is an R & B album? Huh.

  7. Chill says:

    He may be right about the Grammy’s and their categories, but he is not R&B. I’m not a Bieber fan, so don’t know his music much. I have heard “Intentions” on the radio. It’s not R&B. It’s POP. Justin Bieber tries to be R& B and appropriates their style, but he is a white boy who has white privilidge.

  8. Normades says:

    Or like BTS who is the biggest act in the world right now but is always reduced to them biggest boys band’. They only get nominated for awards in ‘world music’ categories or for best fandoms.

    • Aang says:

      BTS makes cohesive albums with themes I never expected. Their discography is far deeper than I ever would have guessed. I don’t speak Korean but am routinely touched by their music. I’m happy to see them nominated for best duo / group performance but Map of the Soul 7 deserves more recognition. They are much more than Dynamite.

      • Eleonora says:

        Me too.

        They make happy pop songs, but also songs about mental health (kind of a taboo in South Korea still) and other matters.

        People like to dismiss them as a boyband, but they are much more than just some handsome people that can dance well.

    • bunny says:

      you may like them, but their music is hard to connect to bc of the language barrier. it’s not about xenophobia, it’s about a person immediately hearing a song and connecting to it beyond the sound. that’s why mama and other asian award shows mainly award asian artists. language is a big deal whether we like it or not.
      bts did not deserve any nominations for their current work. perhaps the mots persona mini album that had home and mikrokosmos (that album was SO good), but truthfully mots:on and be are utterly boring. the only people that buy these albums are ARMY, and you know it. look at the numbers. if it wasn’t for the 6+ remixes of the SAME song Big Hit released, Dynamite wouldn’t have charted beyond first week either.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I mean…Ed Shareen isn’t exactly the height of what I’d consider artistic creativity, and the Grammys have no problem rewarding his work? Not to mention the thousands of indie artists that could unrecognized yearly. I don’t really see it as a particular statement of creative authority so much as whose impactful within the music industry, and by that gauge, it’s ridiculous to ignore BTS.

        Even with a language barrier, BTS is platinum certified by the RIAA, have hit #1 on the US charts in 2018 and 2020, and this year alone have sold over a half million albums…in a country where Korean is NOT a common language. They’ve done interviews with American hosts, shown up on programs to do routines, and are topping the charts on iTunes and Spotify. That’s an insanely impressive as an accomplishment considering radios aren’t playing their music, so imagine how much bigger they’d be with that level of penetration into the mainstream. It feels like everybody BUT the Grammys at this point has acknowledged they’re big players, so the omission is glaring.

      • Eleonora says:

        @bunny, -only ARMY-. But ARMY is huge and ever growing. It’s easy to act as if it’s just ARMY, when you start lumping each new fan under that term. By the way, lots of people I know enjoy their songs, including non-fans

        Unfortunately, there are some Kpop fans of other groups that are very disgruntled that a group from such a small company, which started out with way fewer opportunities than groups from the Big3 companies, surpassed all others. They are scrambling for something to say to downplay the impact of BTS. For instance, many artists have remixes, but somehow that’s not a problem.

        On the other hand, I also saw many fans from other groups be happy and congratulating them and the response from other celebrities has been amazing.

      • R. says:

        @bunny. no disrespect, but I don’t think you understand South Korean soft power in Asia. It’s really no joke. Most non-Korean Asians don’t speak or understand South Korean. Most international kpop fans/Korean drama watchers only understand Korean on a very, very basic level. Like, ‘Hello’, ‘I love you’, I’m sorry’ and ‘Oppa’. Fans that do understand Korean and can translate it to one or several other languages work incredible fast. Once I read the translations/ analyses what all the references mean etc…, there’s no going back to English songs or shows for me. (Like honestly, I can understand Taylor Swift’s songs on one glance, but IU’s or Akmu’s or Se So Neon or Tablo’ etc.. lyrics? Not only do I need translations, but I usually need analyses what certain cultural references/ phrases mean in order fully appreciate them. It takes more work, but it is more rewarding for me as well.It feels like a brain excercise haha. Heck, I remember the days when internet/fanbases worked significantly slower and I had to watch/listen to Korean songs/drama’s without understanding one iota of Korean and still be far, far more invested in them than any American/British shows. Yes, to engage in korean pop culture maybe require a bit more effort, a little more time but the pay off is greater as well. It’s so rewarding to learn and understand a bit more about a culture that’s different yet familiar to mine’s.

    • Veronica S. says:

      I mean, BTS is a boy band, but the real issue is that they shouldn’t be treated as inferior for it or lacking genuine musical talent and passion because of that. Let’s be real, the implicit reason why boy bands are subjects of mockery are because their fanbases are dominated by women, especially young women. They play almost exclusively to the sentiments and desires of teen girls and young women. This isn’t just a racial issue – it’s also a blatant sexism issue. Work performed by white men for men or a broad audience is considered the most valid artistic enterprise, whereas non-white performers or women/artists who play specifically toward women are considered inherently lesser or are only notable within narrow categories.

      • Eleonora says:

        You make many good points.

        Anything meant for mostly women is generally considered inferior, especially woc or young women.

        The themes in BTS music go well beyond simple love songs (though they have some too) and it resonates with lots of people.

        Their nomination is big news in Korea and many people are happy.

      • Enny says:

        I mean, The Beatles were essentially a boy band, too, and no one doubts their contributions to popular music…

  9. StephB says:

    There is NO such thing as reverse racism. That doesn’t exist. Full stop.

  10. S808 says:

    Changes was not RnB and his label submitted for those categories— he’s picking a fight with the wrong people. There’s something to say about shoving (black) artists in categories they don’t belong to but that’s not what happened here. Frankly, I would’ve been mad if changes took up space in the RnB section.

  11. AGreatDane says:

    No he is not making good points. The R&B categories were created to keep Black artists from winning all the other awards and now a White artist wants to barge in on that lane as well. With the way he shamed his fans into streaming and buying Yummy, he should be glad Scooter Braun’s payoffs got him a nomination at all for that crappy music. R&B is a particular genre and his album doesn’t qualify because of some vaguely unnamed “African drums”. JB is the most entitled brat I’ve ever seen and he knows no music history either.

  12. L says:

    Nope. No such thing as reverse racism. That little twerp shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place. His songs especially yummy were pure crap.

  13. Millie says:

    I barely even knew he released a new album this year, people love to talk about snubs and all but not everything is deserving. Not to mention this album apparently sold fewer copies than his last and received mixed reviews. Not exactly biggest album of the year material.

  14. Tiffany says:


    These categories were created because of the racism in the award industry. This just shows that Black artists can have NOTHING for themselves.

    Bieber needs to get in his car seat and stay in his lane.

  15. Case says:

    He’s correct about the categories being out of wack, but I feel like his music is pretty distinctly pop from everything I’ve heard.

  16. AndaPanda says:

    I kind of recall justin timberlake having the same type of complaint back in his Timbaland collab days. This world especially America is so racist and I’m over it. I am truly thankful there are more good than bad in this world though.

  17. Lemons says:

    I don’t know what music everyone is listening to, but R&B is no longer “Pony” by Ginuwine and even Black artists who are making pop get relegated to R&B and Hip Hop. The genres differences are very hazy. Take a look at the “Yummy” video choreographed by Parris on Youtube. It ain’t pop.

    The Grammy’s need to do a better job of categorizing music. They ALSO would avoid many of these trash nominations of Black music was actually treated like the beacon it is. It’s the main reason why the categories are no longer so clear. People like this sound and are infusing it with their music. Give credit where credit is due.

    I don’t have a problem with Justin Bieber creating an R&B album. Just recognize that an R&B artist besides Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke can win Artist or Album of the year.

  18. detritus says:

    Beibs has always been my shame dong, so I frigging love it that he’s growing up and saying the right stuff.

    His comment is excellent.

    • Other Renee says:

      I thought he made his point in a thoughtful and respectful manner.

      • detritus says:

        It was really well done, wasn’t it?

        Thoughtful, careful (notice he never mentions racism directly, a word that sadly causes a lot of people to get their hackles up) and to the point.

    • MF1 says:

      Agree but I stan for Bieber. He had a rough start of it and the fame from his childhood really did a number on him, but he’s turned into a decent human being.

  19. tee says:

    He doesn’t have a point and if anything he’s (again) co-opting the point of black artists. In addition to submitting in pop categories, his album wasn’t even r&b and if he thought he didn’t deserve a pop non, he def didn’t deserve an r&b nom.

  20. Tiff says:

    The R&B category was a mess in general this year. The erasure of the R&B girls like Summer Walker and Ari Lennox is insane! Not to mention the Weekend. Grammys smammys. The AMAs were no better. Doja Cat winning best R&B/Soul when she isn’t R&B or Soul?! What?!

  21. Justme says:

    No. I’m not here for this from Justin.
    When Brandy can’t get a R&B nom (or any nom for that matter), then he can’t either.

    The Grammys have been full of it for a long time, but I don’t need white artists to advocate to be placed in categories black people can’t get out of.

  22. Katie says:

    at this point, it’s honestly embarrassing. there are definitely distinct genres for white music and people of color music.

  23. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Black artists have been complaining about this for YEARS. But the white kid who thinks he’s R&B (he isn’t) brings it up and everyone starts paying attention. Because of course.

  24. ethy says:

    Tyler the creator mentioned this in his Grammy speech last year when he won best rap album for an album that wasn’t rap. He said “It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” AGREED

    • schmootc says:

      Yes, ‘urban’ does seem like a code word. I mean, what kind of ‘music’ do they even say that it is?

  25. Ash says:

    I did a brief dive into all of the tracks on the Bieber album in question, and while its certainly more different than his other songs, it is NOT R&B. Its not. Its urban pop at best. And, if he thought anything he put out on this album deserves a Grammy nom over ACTUAL R&B albums and songs then he’s just as delusional as I thought. He needs to learn from the likes of JoJo, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke (the last 2 extremely problematic in their own ways) what ACTUAL R&B music is today.

    The Grammy categories suck and they have intentionally shut out many people in the past and present. But, Justin is wrong on his behalf in this instance.

  26. SheaButterBaby says:

    His album is not true R&B. SO SO many real R&B artists were snubbed this year it’s ridiculous. Brandy, H.E.R. Victoria Monet, Summer Walker, Ari Lennox and the list goes on. Please see Teyana Taylor’s (she also dropped an amazing, Grammy worthy R&B album that should have been nominated) tweets on the subject.