BTS’ American Journey Ceases To End, As It Just Began At The 63rd Grammy Awards
Today, the 63rd Grammys have taken place and BTS was snubbed of an award their supporters believe the septet deserved.
Coming from different parts of the world, BTS’ fan base collectively known as ARMYs stayed up watching the 63rd Grammys in the hopes that BTS will take home their first-ever nomination of Pop Duo/Group Performance alongside the anticipation of world-class performance of their chart-topping song Dynamite.
However, true to the issues that have long lived with the award show, the septet was snubbed of the award that records can further prove. Following the event, ARMYs, through their social media, have voiced out their disappointment for the award show and their words of assurance for the group through hashtags #LightItUpBTS and #BTSOurGreatestPrize.
After the show has taken a break, it proceeded with its pre-show announcing the grand winners and ARMYs have then stay tuned to support BTS for their upcoming performance. And despite a setlist, it was unpleasant for the show to have BTS performed last to attract stable views until the end.
Is BTS chasing after a biased western awards show?
A lot has been saying that BTS doesn’t need to chase after Grammys as they have proved their position in the industry and the world has witnessed that. While this is true, the Grammys is one of the barriers that the American pop industry created to make it appear as these artists needed it as a form of validation for their music. Non-western singers work hard to break in, like BTS, but the purpose is not to chase but to tear down the barrier that divides disguised as unification through music by letting every deserving artist in it regardless of race, skin color, language, and gender.
Every awards show is problematic, that’s why BTS penetrating these isn’t chasing. They all have the qualities these award-giving bodies aren’t ready for: underdogs, people of color, sings not in English, different music pattern, genderless, outright, etc. that makes them fit to challenge the norms and standards made by these discriminatory and biased organizations.
BTS piercing through these associations and/or organizations are like cornering them at a boxing match, either way, their intentions will show. BTS is the conversation the world isn’t ready for. BTS did not fail, others have just refused to see the worth in their music.
We know how superficial the band is but the strong resistance of the fandom should make people reflect “what’s more to it?” rather than judge the surface and conclude that these artists are after some sort of validation.
Why does it matter?
Grammys, as we know, is a voting system that begins with members and record companies submitting entries, which are then screened for eligibility and category placement. The Academy’s voting members, all involved in the creative and technical processes of recording, then participate in (1) the nominating process that determines the five finalists in each category; and (2) the final voting process which determines the GRAMMY winners.
BigHit has submitted both Dynamite and Map of the Soul: 7 for multiple categories. Dynamite for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Music Video, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Map of the Soul: 7 for Album of the Year, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, and Best Pop Vocal Album. However, only Dynamite made it to the cut with one category which is Best Pop Duo/Group Performance because not having it in that category is an outright rejection as the song and the group is played and performed multiple times. Map of the Soul: 7 did not secure any nominations despite it peaking at number 1 in IFPI’s 2021 Global Album Sales Chart.
The Recording Academy still chooses to act deaf and blind by these facts, track records, and by the growling sound of BTS’ success worldwide. And since this isn’t fan voting or records sales chart based but is by the virtue of the controversial voting process by committees, it has then become the subject of criticism since way back. Anne Powers writing for the NPR accused the 2017 Grammys of systematic racism.
Why does it matter? Suga, the lead rapper of the group has said in his Weverse post (an application dedicated to their fans) that they’ll work harder this year. This opens the reality of artists and even ordinary people of color how they have to work multiple times harder compared to their white counterparts to be accorded credit, recognition, chance, opportunity, etc., and much worse, to be given a voice.
As Namjoon, the leader of the group mentioned before that Grammys will be the final destination of their American journey, however, today seems like it won’t end just yet but more so, it’s a red carpet of their arrival. Because after all, proving is known to be in BTS’s bloodstream and they’d take this slap to throw a few more punches.
BTS and the World Stage
Following the emotional roller coaster ride today, BTS and ARMYs have shown tremendous support for each other, proving further that they are a force to be reckoned with.
BTS have expressed their intentions and goals of trying again and their fans have re-assured the group of their support. Remembering KISS’ member Gene Simmons unsolicited advice for the band, “as soon as those girls are gonna grow a little bit older, [they’re] going to go away”, prompts that in 48 years in the industry when they were formed last January 1973, he might have never witnessed or experienced what genuine support looks like, thus, he can never fully understand a mutual relationship between an artist and their fans, like BTS and ARMYs.
BTS will continue to conquer the world stage with their diverse fanbase and this will continue to pose a threat to people whose unfamiliar with the revolutionary changes a band with great music, intentions and personality can bring including mentorship. Because this generation has woken up to reality and has figured their value and they wanted people that inspire and value them, people who would instill a great sense of purpose in them and those people are undeniably, BTS. And through their music, they have mentored their fans to find a deeper meaning in their existence.
Legends would be an understatement and undoubtedly, BTS will continue delivering not just large-scale performances but well-thought stages that are carefully planned and curated, from the smallest of stages to a helipad in Seoul. And if not the world, but these biased organizations may continue to refuse to acknowledge artists of color but the question will be, until when. One way or another, they will give what has been asked, as they have probably tested the water today. But even after that, I hope BTS and their fandom and other artists, courage, and strength to pierce through the walls deeper until the last drop of racism and xenophobia are extracted.