Ari Lennox at the Soul Train Awards- Photo Cred: Rap-UP

Award Season

It’s that time of year again! And no, I don’t mean the holidays. It’s award season! It’s that time of year where you get to see if your favorite artists’ work gets the recognition you believe they deserve.

This year we see artists fulfill lifelong dreams. Charlotte’s own, ‘DaBaby‘ came through with two Grammy nominations for his hit song, “Suge”. While he got lucky, others didn’t. ‘Wale’s’ hit song, “On Chill” featuring ‘Jeremih‘, got shut out with 0 nominations. I think the biggest snub of them all was with ‘Ari Lennox‘. Not only did she get shut out from the Grammys, but the award show that should have given her her best shot, sent her home empty-handed; The Soul Train Awards.

It Deserved Better

Ari and her album, Shea Butter Baby, deserved better. Ari knows it too, she took to Twitter to air out her frustrations. “It wasn’t just any award show. It was the soul train awards. As you can see I’m a big fan of soul music and a huge fan of soul trains history.” Lennox exclaimed in one of her tweets. The one award show where she thought her talents and effort would be fully realized, disappointed her, and I understand why. Shea Butter Baby is the personification of a “soul album.” From the beats to the way she delivers her lyrics. You would think BET would see that. Of course, Ari’s passion for this topic brought forth a strong reaction from social media which prompted the singer to deactivate her account for a short while.

Mainstream Appeal

Although the Soul Train Awards were surprising, what wasn’t surprising was the Grammys. Ari not receiving a single nom was surprising and not surprising at the same time. It was surprising because, to me, you can’t name 5 other albums in the same genre as Shea Butter that were better. But, it’s also not surprising because the Grammys have been tone-deaf to black music for years. Ari isn’t their favored “mainstream appeal” type of artist. You won’t typically hear her music on the mainstream radio or see her beyond a couple of late-night talk shows on TV, but the ones that matter, the music lovers, they know. We’ve seen the Grammy’s do this in the past, with Beyonce losing Album of the Year to Beck in 2015 or when they invited SZA to the award show with 5 nominations and sent her home with nothing. We have been screaming for the Grammys to give us recognition outside of the few black names that they know. Not only does Ari deserve better, but so do our black artists.