The Recording Academy hasn't awarded Album of the Year to black artist since 2008, but the president of the organization, Neil Portnow, doesn't think this is a problem.
"I don’t think there’s a race problem at all," Portnow said in an interview with Pitchfork. "Remember, this is a peer-voted award. So when we say the Grammys, it’s not a corporate entity — it’s the 14,000 members of the Academy. They have to qualify in order to be members, which means they have to have recorded and released music, and so they are sort of the experts and the highest level of professionals in the industry."
He goes on to say that race couldn't possibly be a factor because music is all about what you hear. "When you go to vote on a piece of music—at least the way that I approach it—is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen," he says. "It’s a matter of what you react to and what in your mind as a professional really rises to the highest level of excellence in any given year. And that is going to be very subjective."
This is a valid sentiment, but doesn't allow room for the fact that music is not one homogenous category. Music is rooted in a variety of cultures and histories, and when we boiled it down to the facts, certain types seem to be disproportionately rewarded.
Until this issue is addressed, future Grammys could be missing some of our favorite and most talented artists.