I went to bed on Grammys night with the feeling that Adele was going to win AOTY over Beyoncé. I told my sister this, I told Twitter this, and I still went to bed hoping to wake up to something different. I didn’t. And since then I’ve been on Twitter, where people mostly agree with me on this, but outside of it the picture is quite different.

Most of the articles that get written about #Grammygate, regardless of what position they take on the matter, are absolutely swarmed with comments saying Adele shouldn’t have said Beyoncé deserved the award more. It’s overwhelming, especially on Facebook. A portion of the arguments vary between “Beyoncé uses autotune” to “Beyoncé doesn’t write her own songs”, “Beyoncé is arrogant/attention seeking” and more or less obvious commentary referring to general appearance and clothing. The other portion of the comments are, of course, plain fucking racist. But here’s the thing, Facebook monsters: Beyoncé doesn’t ever use auto tune because her vocals are pitch perfect, Beyoncé does participate in the writing of her own songs, she also takes part on the production and the mixing, she plans the imagery and the costumes and the treatments of her own music videos. Beyoncé is hands on in everything she does and from a technical standpoint she is a perfect performer. Facebook, you’re wrong.

But then, here comes Santana, saying Adele is a singer and Beyoncé isn’t. Santana is a musician that has been working for over 40 years and you would think he would be, at this point, able to recognize what an artist is or isn’t – but apparently he can’t. Adele can sing, sing, according to his literal words, but Beyoncé can’t. This, of course, is untrue; in fact Beyoncé has a larger vocal range than Adele. But yet, he states: “With all respect to our sister Beyoncé, Beyoncé is very beautiful to look at and it’s more like modelling kind of music ― music to model a dress ― she’s not a singer, singer, with all respect to her”. He has since apologized, but it’s one of these “sorry if I offended you” apologies and not a “my perception of women and their worth and their artistry is directly linked to the way they present themselves” type of apology, therefore it doesn’t count.

Santana is misogynistic, just like those peeps on Facebook and many others who are making a judgement call on Beyoncé and Adele based on the perception they have of them as women and as people. On one side of this hypothetical ring we have Adele, a white blue-eyed woman who sings very good ballads. She wears long, black ‘classy’ dresses that never distract from her voice, which is her biggest asset. On the other side, we’ve got a very confident black woman who sings, dances and has incorporated her sexuality into her performances without any type of shame. Adele is charming and funny and when she talks people feel like she could be a friend. Beyoncé barely gives out interviews, she looks like she is a couple hundred floors above us mere mortals – because she is – and people perceive this to be a threat. There’s nothing that people hate more than a self-assured woman, and Beyoncé lives off of this concept. She isn’t required to act humble, just like Mariah, Barbra, Michael or Bowie aren’t or weren’t required to do it either. I am aware that some artists – cough, Taylor Swift – have made a living out of pretending to be quirky and personifying the concept of girl next door, but this is a choice and not a requirement. If you feel threatened by a woman who has power and isn’t afraid to show it or use it, that’s your issue and yours only.

This discomfort for powerful women is of course heightened by the fact Beyoncé is black. Racism manifests in various ways and a lot of white people think that just because they’re not conscious in their bias, it doesn’t exist. The boss of the Grammys doesn’t think there’s racism involved in the voting process because “it’s a peer vote”, as if said peers couldn’t be racist. He even adds that if they were racist they wouldn’t have elected Chance The Rapper as Best Newcomer, which I guess is the Grammys equivalent of the “I have a black/gay friend” excuse. Obama was the president of the United States for 8 years and people elected a white supremacist after he was gone! Racism is well and truly alive and not just in the plain unapologetic neo-nazis that most people can identify. Racism lives in the core of those people who have only heard “Hello” from Adele’s album but they’re really sure she deserved the award more than Beyoncé. They probably don’t know the root of why they believe this to be true, but that doesn’t make them less wrong.

Then, of course, there are plain racists who hate that Beyoncé is black and rich and hates Donald Trump. But I wanna believe those aren’t the majority of the ‘peers’ that had a say in the Grammys voting process. The said peers probably disregard Beyoncé’s work because she is part of pop culture, and a lot of people hate pop because of the notion that it’s designed to sell and holds no quality. It’s true on the selling part, which is why these are the artists who get invited to perform every year even when they’re not allowed to take the cake home. In order to execute this disregard without feeling like they’re being too racist, the Grammys have created secondary categories for “urban” styles and artists. Urban are the categories that can hold your Rihannas, your Beyoncés and your Snoop Doggs but also your John Legends, even if all that John and Snoop have in common is the fact that they’re both black. White people can be urban, in fact please let’s use this moment to remember Macklemore has FOUR FUCKING Grammys, but black people have a real hard time winning anything outside of these categories. The last woman to win Album of the Year was Lauryn Hill in 1999. The Grammys are telling us that in nearly 20 years of music no other black woman has made work deserving of their main award while telling us they’re not racist. Cool.

And look. I’m an Adele stan. When Adele released “21” I talked about it all damn year and longer. I cried when she performed “Someone Like You” at the Brit Awards. I’ve listened to her entire body of work too many times to count, so when I say “25” is subpar it’s far from shade. Sure, it has “Hello” and it has “When We Were Young”, but the point is, she didn’t better herself. “21” was an outstanding evolution from an already good “19”, but this last album was a step to the side. To compare it to “Lemonade”, which is Beyoncé’s greatest work EVER, is preposterous to say the least, because in every field that Adele played it conservative, Beyoncé pushed a dozen boundaries. She made an album that was empowering, culturally charged, vindicatory and relevant on top of being sonically diverse and innovative; Adele simply didn’t, even if she’s great. Sometimes, great artists make records that aren’t as great as they are and we can’t give them the awards by default just because.

The only good bit about Adele winning is that fortunately she knows all of this. Adele understands music better than her peers and she knows that when something special like “Lemonade” appears it’s our duty to listen and to cherish. That’s why she told everybody that Beyoncé deserved it more than her, not because she’s “gracious” or “generous” but because she’s honest.

And that’s the only part of this clusterfuck that I can be at peace with.

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