Grammys will no longer use term “urban” in awards categories

The Black Music Coalition encouraged the industry to adapt in the fight against racism

The Grammys have dropped the word ‘urban’ from their awards categories.

The Black Music Coalition penned an open letter to all music industry leaders this week in a bid to tackle racism, with one section calling for bosses to replace ‘urban music’ with ‘black music’.

Today (June 10) the Grammys confirmed that they will no longer be using the term, while outlining an “ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape”.


The Best Urban Contemporary Album category will be known going forward as the Best Progressive R&B Album. Lizzo won the award at this year’s ceremony for her 2019 album, ‘Cuz I Love You’.

Harvey Mason Jr, chair & interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, explained: “I’m excited to announce our latest changes, as we’re constantly evaluating our awards process and evolving it to ensure the Grammy Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry.

2018 Grammy winners

“The Academy accepts proposals for rule changes from members of the music community throughout the year that are carefully reviewed and, if accepted, ultimately ratified at our annual board meeting, a process that we are proud to have continued in this challenging year.”

This comes after Republic Records and Los Angeles A&R company Milk & Honey last week announced that they’d be dropping ‘urban’, which the latter described as “an outdated word which has no place in 2020 onwards”.

The Grammys have previously been criticised by the likes of Billie Eilish and Tyler, the Creator over their continued use of ‘urban’.


Speaking to the press after winning Best Rap Album at the 2020 Grammys back in January, Tyler explained: “I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. To me, it’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word. Why can’t we just be in pop?”

Eilish recently agreed with Tyler’s views, reasoning that the music industry shouldn’t “judge an artist off the way someone looks or the way someone dresses”.