This year Sza was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. She was thought to be a crowd favorite for the win but sadly she was snubbed. Have you noticed that a black woman hasn’t won Album of the Year recently? That might be because the last black woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys was Lauren Hill in 1999. Why is that, and how did it come to be? Why did Sza fall victim to this unfortunate trend?

On February 4th, 2024 at 8:00 PM EST, sixteen point nine million Americans tuned in to watch the 66th annual Grammy Awards. Every year millions worldwide watch this award show live, as well as millions more following online and on social media. The Grammy Awards are considered the highest level of achievement in music and recording.

A Grammy Award is an accolade awarded by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. The Grammy Awards has many different categories that artists can be nominated for across genres, but some may argue that the most prestigious is “Album of the Year”. While this annual event is widely considered the highest achievement in the music world, in the nearly seven decades since its establishment, it hasn’t been without controversy. This year in music made one question apparent: why is it that over 66 years and nearly 400 albums nominated for this category, very few black women have been nominated let alone won?

This year’s nominations for Album of the Year were; “SOS” by Sza, “Midnights” by Taylor Swift, “Guts” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Age of Pleasure” by Janelle Monae, “Endless Summer Vacation” by Miley Cyrus, “World Music Radio” by Jon Batiste, “the record” by boygenius, and “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” by Lana Del Rey. All six artists are immensely talented, but there can only be one winner; this year was “Midnights” by Taylor Swift.

Swift’s winning Album of the Year sparked a conversation about the lack of representation in the music industry. This is because there hasn’t been a black woman who has won Album of the Year since 1999, nearly 25 years ago. Why is it that this group of people is not being represented in the category? Since the beginning of the Grammy Awards, there have only 11 black artists have won Album of the Year. Three of those artists were women, with 37 albums by 25 different artists. To put that in perspective, 37 albums out of 396 nominations is about 9 percent of all nominations over the last 66 years. In terms of wins, 3 wins in a total of 66 years is about 4.5 percent. Some previously nominated black women in this category include extremely talented stars such as Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Janelle Monae to name a few.

That is only 16 artists over the last 24 years since Lauryn Hills won in 1999. The topic of black women being snubbed for this award has been going on for years, especially since Beyonce’s loss of “Album of the Year” in 2017 and 2023 for her albums “Lemonade” and “Renaissance”. Some may ask if not Taylor Swift, then who should have won? I have an answer. I believe that Sza was more than deserving of Album of the Year in 2024. She was directly behind Swift in the Billboard charts for albums in 2023, with “Midnights” charting at number two on the Billboard year-end ranking, and “SOS” ranking at number 3. Sza’s hit “Kill Bill” charted higher at the end of 2023 over Swift’s “Anti-Hero”. Sza also had more songs in the top ten songs of 2023 according to Billboard.

Sza has yet to earn a Grammy for Album of the Year, while this is Taylor Swift’s fourth win in the category. This is impressive because there have only been 6 artists in history to be awarded Album of the Year more than once. This might make you wonder, does Taylor belong alongside artists like Paul Simon, U2, Frank Sinatra, and Stevie Wonder? The one thing these artists all have in common is that they are the only 6 artists to have won Album of the Year more than once. This has also been an ongoing debate in the music scene, in that every year seemingly one artist sweeps the Grammys and wins many awards.

What do you think? Was this year an outlier? Should an artist be ineligible if they have already won in the category in the past? How should the award be decided? Should it be based on the music’s content or the artist’s popularity?

In my opinion, there are so many talented musicians in the music industry that get overlooked and lack recognition, we should uplift smaller artists rather than giving the same artist the majority of awards every year. What would this look like? Would this mean if you won a Grammy in one category you can’t win in another? These are all pressing questions that come to mind when watching such a historic event in music every year. It can also be said that there might not even be a solution to this problem.

There is a problem that needs to be solved, and that is black women deserve recognition and celebration in this award and throughout music. Regardless of who the competition is, I do not believe for the past 24 years there hasn’t been a black woman who is deserving of Album of the Year. This again brings up the issue of representation in the music industry. Why is it that black women are not only nominated less but also constantly being overlooked?

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Stoll, Julia. “Grammy Viewership by Year 2000-2024.” Statista, 6 Feb. 2024,,audience%20since%20the%202020%20ceremony.

“Music Industry Awards.” Home, Accessed 18 Feb. 2024.

Beyoncé Hasn’t Won Grammys Album of the Year. Who Was the Last Black Woman to Hold the Prize?, USA Today, .

Fekadu, Mesfin. “SZA’s ‘Sos’ Could Be First Album by a Black Woman to Win Top Grammy in 25 Years.” The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Jan. 2024,