Ghanaian-American Singer Amaarae Criticizes Grammy Organizers for New African Music Category

In a recent interview with Ghana’s Metro TV, Ghanaian-American musician Ama Serwah Genfi, known professionally as Amaarae, attacked the Grammy organizers for being “reductive.”

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“The idea of an African category [at the Grammys] is great in theory, but I think it is reductive,” the gifted diva, noted for her combination of Pop, R&B, Afrobeat, Alté, and dynamic expression of gender and s-xuality, remarked. There are just too many categories to include under the heading of African music.

“Take a song like ‘Sad Girlz’, ‘Calm Down,’ or ‘Last Last’ are songs that didn’t just do well in Africa, but did well globally and had humongous global impacts. So, to me, they are popular records.

“So, I feel a record like [Rema’s] ‘Calm Down’ with the remix with Selena Gomez, should be able to compete in pop categories [at the Grammys]. I feel like [Burna Boy’s] ‘Last Last’ should be able to compete in hip-hop, RnB, or pop categories and not be relegated to just the African category because that’s reductive of the works that [African] artists have done to break boundaries.”

Below is the breakdown of the three new GRAMMY Award Categories.

Best African Music Performance

A track and singles Category that recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent.

Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic musical traditions, the Category includes but is not limited to the Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz genres.

Best Pop Dance Recording

Recognizes tracks and singles that feature up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement. Eligible Pop Dance recordings also feature strong rhythmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on vocal performance, melody, and hooks.

Dance remixes are eligible in the Best Remixed Recording Category only and may not be entered in Best Pop Dance Recording.

Best Alternative Jazz Album

This Category recognizes artistic excellence in Alternative Jazz albums by individuals, duos, and groups/ensembles, with or without vocals.

Alternative Jazz may be defined as a genre-blending, envelope-pushing hybrid that mixes jazz (improvisation, interaction, harmony, rhythm, arrangements, composition, and style) with other genres, including R&B, Hip-Hop, Classical, Contemporary Improvisation, Experimental, Pop, Rap, Electronic/Dance music, and/or Spoken Word.

It may also include the contemporary production techniques/instrumentation associated with other genres.


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