Feb 15, 2017 05:10 PM EST By Kevin Jacobsen

Grammys Racist?: Recording Academy President Responds To Claims Following Beyonce Loss [VIDEO]

Beyonce losing Album of the Year caused huge fervor on the internet, and the Recording Academy president may have added more fuel to the fire.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow shares his thoughts on claims that the Grammys have a race problem.
Photo Credit Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Beyoncé losing the Grammy for Album of the Year has angered many people, with some crying racism, though the Recording Academy president doesn't see it as such.

The cultural achievement that was Lemonade was barely recognized by the Grammys. Despite nine nominations in total, Beyoncé only walked away with two awards: Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video for "Formation". Despite being the heavy favorite to win Album of the Year, she lost the award for Adele for her album, 25.

Some have suggested that Beyoncé's race may have had something to do with her losing the top prize, considering the last black artist to win the category was Herbie Hancock for his Joni Mitchell covers album in 2008. Lemonade has strong themes of black female empowerment, which some have argued may have played a role in her loss.

Yet, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow dismisses any claims of racism within the awards group.

"No, I don't think there's a race problem at all," Portnow told Pitchfork Sunday night. "Remember, this is a peer-voted award. So when we say the Grammys, it's not a corporate entity - it's the 14,000 members of the Academy."

He also explained that members don't discriminate in such a way when it comes to music.

"We don't, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity. When you go to vote on a piece of music - at least the way that I approach it - is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen," he said.

This Grammys upset comes in the years following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but once again, Portnow doesn't believe his members have such a racial bias as the Academy.

"Well, [the MPAA] may have had a problem. We don't have that kind of an issue in that same fashion," he explained. "But we are always working on increasing diversity in membership, whether it's ethnicity, gender, genre, or age. In order to maintain our relevance, we have to be refreshing all the time and we have to be doing that across the board."

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