Beyoncé loses album of the year Grammy to Harry Styles and fans are incensed: ‘A slap in the face’

A split-screen image showing on the left Beyoncé wearing a gold and black outfit at the Grammys as she stands behind a microphone holding her award with the right-hand image showing Harry Styles wearing a silver vest top and white tuxedo jacket as he holds his award during his Grammys speech

Despite having the most Grammys wins ever, Beyoncé’s masterpiece Renaissance lost out on the prestigious album of the year award at the 2023 Grammys – and queer fans aren’t happy.

While Beyoncé’s four wins at the 65th Grammys made her the most decorated artist in the history of the award show, she is still, unbelievably, yet to snatch the coveted album of the year title.

After losing out on the award in previous years to artists such as Taylor Swift, Beck and, notably, Adele in 2017 (when the latter’s acceptance speech included the confession that Lemonade was her album of the year), fans were sure that queer, Black masterpiece Renaissance was Beyoncé’s one-way ticket to the win.

It wasn’t to be, though, as Harry Styles’ name was called for the last award of the evening when his third solo album, Harry’s House, won album of the year.

Despite Harry’s House being the most streamed album of 2022, legions of Twitter users have not been thrilled with the win, with many queer fans calling more riggory than Alaska for sending home Alyssa over Roxxxy in All Stars 2.

One fan wrote that Beyoncé “couldn’t have created a better album than Renaissance”, and that “critics raved about it being her best work yet”, before pointing out the cultural significance of the record – “It is an album that literally celebrates the intersection of queer and black history.”

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Another added that the snub was a “slap in the face”, not only to Beyoncé, but artists such as Lizzo and Bad Bunny too.

Many others have noted that while Renaissance is not only dedicated to queer culture, and features and samples Black queer artists such as Big Freedia and Honey Dijon, Harry Styles’ stardom is marred by his position at the centre of a ‘queerbaiting’ row, in which people claim that he profits off queer aesthetics.

A common theme of many of the complaints is the contrast between Beyoncé’s outspoken gratitude towards the queer community (and late Uncle Johnny) in her acceptance speech compared to Styles’ speech in which he said that winning AOTY “doesn’t happen very often to people like me”.

One Twitter user has jumped to Styles’ defence and interpreted his words as a signpost towards queer identity, writing that they thought the “the queer community would be the first to catch on”.

However, many others have clapped back (in classic Twitter style, fairly viciously), with one arguing that Styles’ “proximity to queerness” was limited to “fan theories”.

While Styles’ statement seems to refer to his early life in a rural English village with no connections to the music industry, Twitter users have not let the statement slide. Many have since pointed out that the last Black woman to win the award was Lauryn Hill in 1999, and that Styles’ choice of words are tone-deaf.

Fans have called for Beyoncé to stop submitting her work for consideration at the Grammys after Beyoncé, Lemonade and Renaissance all lost out, saying that the Recording Academy simply “use her for views and snub her in every major category.”

In other Grammys news, Sam Smith and Kim Petras performed a “satanic” rendition of their smash hit song “Unholy”, after which Petras became the first trans woman to win the Grammy for best pop duo/ group performance.

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