Beyah: The Grammy’s have lost their shine for me

Feb. 12, 2013 @ 02:04 PM

I didn’t even know the Grammy Awards were on Sunday night. It wasn’t even on my radar. How could this be?

After all, I am a woman who lives for music. It is a friend that I carry with me always. When I’m in a meeting and zoning out, you can bet your buns I have something playing on my internal jukebox. As I write these lines, I’m playing Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.” I don’t know why that song is playing, it just is.

Now back to the Grammy’s. How the heck did I not know that they were on? I think it’s because they have lost something for me. The allure of them is just not there anymore because the quality of the music out there isn’t up to snuff. There are artists that I have never heard of and, after Spotifying some of them, I know exactly why that is the case.

When I used to think of the Grammy’s I thought about the best of the best. I thought about Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Sir Elton, Bonnie Raitt and Quincy Jones. I was filled with such excitement and unbridled joy in anticipation.

When I think about the Grammy’s today, I think about the enormous amount of fluff that is played on the airwaves these days. I think about Gangnam Style and the ridiculousness that it is. I think about Beyoncé Knowles songs that I have never heard because there is no substance to them. I think of the terrible music that I will be assaulted with if I watch the show.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to discover new artists that I have never heard of before. That used to be a possibility for an old self-professed audiophile like me to do so when I watched the Grammy Awards, but not anymore. If I want to find a musical gem, I have to go out and pan for them myself.

I am a person who still purchases actual CDs and vinyl records because I love the music. I appreciate having the liner notes so that I can see all of the amazing people who collaborated to create the art. I want to know the songwriters and musicians who contributed to the work.

That’s why I used to know the exact day and time that the Grammy’s would be televised and who was performing. This Sunday night, the only thing that I knew for sure was that the “Walking Dead” was on at 9 p.m. on AMC and that’s what this audiophile watched.

Khuwailah “Cookie” Beyah is a research associate at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.