Here’s Why Harry Styles Is Facing Backlash for His Album of the Year Grammys Speech


Harry Styles took home the biggest prize at the 2023 Grammys, scoring album of the year for Harry’s House. However, what began as a celebratory moment for the artist—who also won best pop vocal performance for “As It Was”—put a bad taste in many viewers’ mouths.

On February 5, Styles was up against some pretty stiff competition for the coveted award, which many predicted would go to Grammy record-breaker Beyoncé for her album Renaissance. Out of the category’s 10 nominees, Lizzo and Adele were also major contenders. “I’ve been so inspired by every artist in this category with me. A lot of different times in my life, I’ve listened to everyone in this category when I’m alone,” Styles said in his acceptance speech. “On nights like tonight, it’s so important to remember there is no such thing as ‘best’ in music.” So far, so good.

Then he added, “This is really, really kind. I’m so grateful. This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.” People like who, exactly? 

Viewers were quick to question what Styles, a cis white man, was trying to convey. “Saying ‘this doesn’t happen to people like me very often’ when a Black woman hasn’t won that award since 1999 is crazy,” one user tweeted, referencing Lauryn Hill’s 1999 win for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Only two other Black women have ever won the award: Natalie Cole for Unforgettable…With Love in 1992 and Whitney Houston for The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1994. In 64 years of Grammys history, only 11 Black artists have won album of the year. 

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