In the hours that followed the 59th annual GRAMMY Awards, a laundry list of artists, producers and industry types took to social media to share their upset over the results.
If you're one of those people who's upset, J. Cole's longtime manager, Ibrahim 'Ib' Hamad, has a fairly simple solution for you: stay home.
You know who would agree with Ib? Frank Ocean, who before this year's ceremony, penned a seething Tumblr post that elaborated on his decision to withhold both of his 2016 albums from GRAMMY consideration.
Ocean's explanation for why he doesn't need a "TV award" to validate his success—he owns his own masters, he sold a million copies of Blonde without a record label—is something Cole can relate to, especially given all of the wins he's piled up over the past three years.
None of Cole's five GRAMMY nominations have earned him an award, but that doesn't change the fact that he too has sold millions of albums, sold out hundreds of concerts and, most importantly, never sold out.
Frustratingly, this song and dance have become an annual tradition. Every year we watch the GRAMMY Awards, hoping beyond all hope that our favorite hip-hop and R&B artists will be recognized for their outstanding work, and every year we end up disappointed.
Macklemore over Kendrick Lamar.
Beck over Beyoncé.
Taylor Swift over Kendrick Lamar.
Adele over Beyoncé.
We shout on social media about the GRAMMYs being broken and needing a quick fix, highlighting the cultural imbalance in nominations versus winning artists, but no amount of #GrammysSoWhite hashtags will make anyone forget that Nas has never taken home a gilded gramophone.
Or that Beyoncé, Kanye West and Jay Z have combined for 64 GRAMMY nominations, but between them, they have zero Album of the Year awards.
Or that the last black artist to win Album of the Year is Herbie Hancock in 2008.
Or that over the past 22 years, only five black acts (Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, OutKast, Ray Charles and Hancock) have been awarded AOTY.
I clearly don't have the answer here—and no think-piece could possibly deliver a succinct solution to a problem that is much bigger than an awards show—but instead of not showing up to the ceremony, I have a better idea. Just like Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, called on President Trump and Congress to "help keep the music playing," artists must call on Portnow to stop marketing the broadcast by employing black talent when black talent is never awarded the night's top honors.
For those in the industry already, if you're able to qualify to become a voting member of The Recording Academy, please register today.
All voices count, and the sooner we have more people familiar with hip-hop and black voices, the sooner we might be able to kickstart changing the system.
By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Calligrafist