Grammys to rename 'urban' award category after criticism
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The “Best Urban Contemporary Album” Grammy Award will be changed after criticism for using the term “urban” to describe music of black origin. 

The Recording Academy announced Wednesday that the category would be renamed as the “Best Progressive R&B Album” as part of its effort to “appropriately categorize and describe this subgenre.”

“This change includes a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B,” the academy said in a statement.


It noted that “progressive elements” of R&B can include hip-hop, rap, dance and electronic music and can incorporate pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk and alternative styles. 

The renaming of the award was announced along with several other changes to Grammys rules and guidelines, with a goal to “evolve landscape and to ensure that the GRAMMY Awards nominating process and rules are more transparent and fair.”    

Harvey Mason Jr., the interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said the changes were intended to “ensure the GRAMMY Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry.”

Artist Tyler, the Creator has spoken out against the category in the past, saying after this year’s awards show in January that “urban” was racially insensitive and made the award a “backhanded compliment.”

"It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that's genre-bending or that's anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don't like that 'urban' word — it's just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me," he said.

The Recording Academy also announced the renaming of the “Best Rap/Sung Performance” to the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” to “represent the inclusivity of the growing hybrid of performance trends within the rap genre.”

Updates were also made to the best new artist category, Latin, R&B and rap genres and nominations review committees.