The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category, but will it be called the “Bantu” category, the Nigerian pop category or the “African” category? The categories are not meant to be racist.
The categories are not meant to be racist, either. But I wonder whether the Bantu category is less exclusionary than the other ones. The category Bantu is often used to indicate a specific cultural identity and not a regional one. It includes such musical types as the Nigerian traditional ballads, the reggae and gospel music. There are also other categories, such as Africa, Latin America, and Arabic, where one category is supposed to contain all the cultural elements of the continent. The Afrobeats category could be a regional category to fit the subgenre or genre of the Afrobeats music. The Afrobeats genre is in fact the most popular and biggest subgenre in the Afrobeats category. The category Afrobeats is not restricted to the Nigerian music. When it is used for music that is sung in English as well as in Africa, the word includes English pop, jazz, rap, and contemporary R&B, and not just Nigerian music.
The category, Afrobeats, has been suggested for three years now. In October of last year, the Academy announced that they would be considering it. In April of 2012 they had their first meeting and decided that the “Afrobeats” category would be for songs in English, with a genre (Afrobeats) that would comprise “new music” and “old music.” This category would be for “the best works of outstanding and contemporary music in various languages and regions of the world.”
While the Academy admitted that the category “Afrobeats” would not exclude any culture or musical style, “it is important to make the category broader than a single regional genre or style. The category should be a diverse, multilingual, global music genre for the best performing works around the clock, from all regions and all languages.”
A recording industry source said that the Academy is considering five new categories, but the most likely is the African category. The Afrobeats genre will be the biggest and most inclusive one. The category will be determined by the music executives and will not be based on