Grammys President Responds To Criticism Over Beyonce's Loss

"I don't think there's a race problem at all."

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

The Grammys have been drawing more and more criticism for being "out of touch" in recent years, but this year's show seemed to be a final straw for many viewers, including Solange, who shared her thoughts on the organization via Twitter earlier this week.

Adele taking home a trophy for Album of the Year over Beyonce caused quite the ruckus, with many pointing out how this isn't the first time black artists have lost out when public opinion seemed to be on their side.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow recently responded to the criticism, denying that race (or gender, or ethnicity) plays any role in who wins what.

"I don't think there's a race problem at all," he said in an interview with Pitchfork, after the interviewer brought up that a black artist has not won Album of the Year since 2008.

"Remember, this is a peer-voted award," he added. "So when we say the Grammys, it's not a corporate entity — it's the 14,000 members of the Academy. They have to qualify in order to be members, which means they have to have recorded and released music, and so they are sort of the experts and the highest level of professionals in the industry. It's always hard to create objectivity out of something that's inherently subjective, which is what art and music is about. We do the best we can."

"We don't, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity," he continued later. "When you go to vote on a piece of music — at least the way that I approach it — is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen. It's a matter of what you react to and what in your mind as a professional really rises to the highest level of excellence in any given year. And that is going to be very subjective."

Though Portnow stands behind the voting process, he did add that the Academy is always working to increase diversity among their members, explaining, "In order to maintain our relevance, we have to be refreshing all the time and we have to be doing that across the board."

You can check out Portnow's full interview with Pitchfork here. Drop your thoughts below.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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