Best African Music Performance: GRAMMY Awards' new category for African local music genres like Chimurenga, Amapiano and Afrobeats

African Music, Alternative Jazz, and Dance Pop: New Categories on the GRAMMYs Ballot

For decades, African music, alternative jazz, and dance-pop have captivated audiences with their unique sounds and infectious rhythms. Recognizing their growing influence and significance in the music industry, the Recording Academy has decided to introduce three new categories for these genres. 

GRAMMY Awards add new category for African local music genres like Chimurenga, Amapiano and Afrobeats
Chiredzi born Brian Soko, was the first ever Zimbabwean to win a GRAMMY  Award, in 2015 for producing Beyonce's Drunk In Love song featuring Jay-Z

Starting from the 2024 GRAMMYs, the 66th GRAMMY Awards, artists in these genres will have dedicated categories to showcase their talent. In addition, the Recording Academy has made changes to existing categories, ensuring greater inclusivity and participation from all GRAMMY voters.

The new Best African Music Performance category will recognize exceptional tracks and singles that incorporate unique local expressions from across the African continent. It highlights regional melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic musical traditions. The category encompasses a wide range of genres, including 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. Artists who incorporate these diverse African influences into their music will now have the opportunity to shine in this dedicated category.

To enhance the inclusivity of the GRAMMY Awards, the existing categories of Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, and Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical will be moved to the General Field. This strategic change allows all GRAMMY voters to participate in recognizing excellence in these important non-genre-specific categories. By relocating these categories, the Recording Academy ensures that every voter can actively contribute to the acknowledgment of outstanding producers and songwriters.

The decision to introduce new categories and relocate existing ones was made at the Recording Academy's most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting in May 2023. Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., expressed his pride in announcing these category changes and emphasized the Academy's dedication to staying connected with the music industry's needs and evolving trends. The changes reflect a commitment to celebrating artists from various backgrounds and exposing fans worldwide to a wider range of music.

The 2024 GRAMMYs promise to be a celebration of musical diversity and creativity, exposing a broader range of music to audiences worldwide.

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Mungwadzi Godwin

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