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The Grammys Have Renamed The “Urban Contemporary” Category To “Progressive R&B”

This is one of a handful of changes the Grammys have made to its rules and guidelines.

The Grammy Awards have renamed its “Best Urban Contemporary Album” category to “Best Progressive R&B Album.”

On Wednesday (June 10), the Recording Academy announced a handful of changes made to its rules and guidelines. Along with the renaming of the “Best Urban Contemporary Album” category, the Grammys have also changed the “Best Rap/Sung Performance” category to “Best Melodic Rap Performance,” as well as changed the rules for future Best New artist nominees, stating that “There is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering the Best New Artist category.”

Harvey Mason jr., interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, told Variety that the changes are to advance a “completely new, and very transparent and transformed Recording Academy.”

“It’s all part of what I hope will be a and a new chapter in our history. We’re listening to and learning from our partners and constituents and stakeholders; we’re trying to make sure we’re able to pivot and change and adapt; and we want to be really inclusive,” Mason said.

While speaking with Variety, Mason also spoke further about the Grammys dropping the “urban” label and why it’s being changed now. (However, it’s important to note that “Latin Pop” has been renamed “Latin Pop and Urban.”

“It’s something we’ve been discussing for a couple of years, and the term has been a hot button for a while. A lot of creators and people in that genre didn’t like that description and felt it pigeonholed certain styles of music, so when our constituents brought that to us in the form of a proposal, we listened and voted to approve, as asked by the people in that community,” he said. “‘Progressive R&B’ gives us a chance to lean more into the modern R&B and hybrid-style recordings and give us a little bit of flexibility in that category.”

Artists have previously offered their thoughts on the “urban” term as it pertains to the Grammys. At the 2020 Grammys, Tyler, the Creator said, “I don’t like that ‘urban’ word – it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me.”

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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