Why No Ghanaian Artist Has Ever Won Grammy Award

Written by Pharis Kinyua

For the 65 years that Grammy Awards has been in existence, no Ghanaian artist has won an award. 
Yet, in the neighbouring Nigeria, 10 artist pride in winning this coveted award. Despite having a varied talent pool and a rich musical history, Ghana hasn’t had much luck in producing a Grammy Award-winning artist. 

Being the home and pioneer of highlife music, it is puzzling that none of her artists has had the honour of winning this award. However, there are a several reasons for this scenario. 
For starters, country music, rock, pop, are the key genres that the Grammy Awards honour and recognise. In contrast, Ghanaian music has a distinctive combination of modern and traditional African rhythms, leaning so much on Afrobeats genre. It is only recently that it received widespread international fame. Nonetheless, Afrobeats continues to gain popularity in the international music market. 
Another reason why Ghana has had a Grammy Award is the commercial success and marketability that Ghanaian music has. While Ghana's music scene is thriving and significant in Africa, it confronts difficulties in terms of visibility and distribution internationally. 

It’s an open secret that Ghanaian musicians have difficult moments reaching a larger global audience, something fueled by lack of resources and industry links for networking. All this jointly work in decreasing international visibility and Grammy voters barely recognize them. 

Additionally, the Grammy selection procedure itself has come under fire for its lack of inclusivity and diversity. African artists have historically had difficulty winning nominations and prizes in prestigious categories, frequently being limited to niche ones like Best World Music Album. Ghanaian artists haven’t been an exception to this institutional bias.

Nevertheless, there is a light at the tunnel. The Recording Academy of the Grammy Awards recently introduced an addition to its famous awards programme, much to the surprise of Ghanaian music fans.

The Academy is considering establishing a brand-new category for Afrobeats and African music going by recent developments.
The CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Manson Jr., visited Ghana last year solely on the mission to correct the institutional flaws that Grammy is always shaded for. Manson Jr assured that the organization is on a push to promote diversity and one of the ways to achieve this is including Afrobeats into the academy. 

He reiterated that the academy took time and professionalism to accurately present the continent's unique musical environment. From his visit, the Grammy Recording Academy added three categories to the Grammy Awards in 2024. They include the following. 
Best African Music Performance category

This category is meant to honour outstanding records that include distinctive regional expressions from all around Africa. This category will honour various African sounds and rhythms which is where Afropop, Afrobeat, Amapiano, Afro-fusion, Fuji, Highlife, Kizomba among others fall in.
The other two new categories include the following.
Best Alternative Jazz Album
Best Pop Dance Recording

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