How True is What Harry Styles Said in his Grammy Awards Speech?

Harry Styles won the most coveted Grammy award, but his speech has drawn criticism and not many seem to agree that he deserves it.

Harry Styles

Photo: Grammy.com

LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López

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Leer en español: ¿Qué tan cierto es lo que dijo Harry Styles en su discurso de los premios Grammy?

The award for Best Album of the Year is the most important and coveted of the Grammy Awards. Therefore, it is not surprising that there has been controversy after the announcement of the winner of the last edition, which took place last Sunday. Harry Styles, the former member of the boy band One Direction, was the one who took the award home from him for his album “Harry’s House,” for which he also won Best Pop Album. However, celebrating him had a bitter pill.

Did Beyoncé deserve it?

In 2009 Taylor Swift was receiving her Best Female Video award at the VMAs for the video for “You Belong With Me” when Kanye West interrupted her to argue that Beyoncé deserved the award for “Single Ladies.” Fourteen years later, Harry Styles was interrupted by several people in the audience during his acceptance speech for Best Album of the Year, who claimed that Beyoncé deserved the award for her album “Renaissance”. Kanye West was criticized for his attitude, which was seen as rude and despicable, but this time there were several fans and even the artists who were in the audience who showed their dissatisfaction with the award.

And it is that Styles took the prize for which artists such as Adele, Beyoncé, ABBA and Kendrick Lamar were nominated, all musicians with a much longer journey compared to that of the 29-year-old British artist. Added to this, was the fact that Beyonce, the favorite to receive the coveted award, was crowned the artist (man or woman) with the greatest number of Grammys in history, with a total of 32. It must also be added that the American has been nominated four times in this category, but has yet to take home this award.

In broad strokes, and according to the opinions not only of fans, but also of experts, Beyoncé did deserve this award over Styles for her musical career and also for the importance of an album like “Renaissance” on a cultural and technical level. However, due to the media and international reach that “Harry’s House” had, especially for the song “As It Was”, it makes sense that the artist has won the award.

Lee también: Lo bueno, lo malo y lo feo que dejaron los Grammy del 2023

The problem with speech

Since Styles heard his name when the category winner was announced, his surprise and nervousness was notorious, and this is perhaps what led him to give a speech that from the beginning was unclear and cutting. After being interrupted by Beyoncé fans, the singer stated “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often”, a comment that caused social networks to explode with criticism.

Styles is a straight, white, cisgender European man. It is not very consistent for him to make a statement like this, especially at a time like the one we are currently living in, in which these types of awards are being required to take into account artists belonging to other races, nationalities and identities.

And it is that if we go to the facts, only 11 African-American artists and 17 women have won the award in this category in the 65 editions of the Grammys, so it is evident that Styles’ statement does not make much sense: they are precisely the people like him who usually get these kinds of awards. The artist may have meant that a heterosexual man who explores his femininity as he does would not normally win an award of this nature, but the truth is that the words he chose were not the most intelligent. In addition, there is no denying that the market and trends do tend these days to favor the exploration of femininity by men (just look at the other nominee: Bad Bunny).

However, it must be taken into account that the other nominees were women, Afro-American or Latin people, so in fact in this category we find a greater diversity. Styles, precisely, was the most normative artist, but what does this mean regarding the awards?

In this sense, the Grammys have also been criticized, since there is talk of a forced inclusion, one in which various artists are nominated but the most socially privileged are rewarded. Obviously, this forced inclusion does not imply that these artists are less talented and that their nomination is reduced to their skin color, sexual orientation or gender, but it does make us wonder if progress is really being made in terms of inclusion, or if it is just a smoke screen to maintain an image before a critical public.

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