Grammy Awards Boots Drag Queen’s Christian Album From Category Due to Explicit Language
Drag queen and Christian music singer Flamy Grant is pushing back after their 2022 album Bible Belt Baby was removed from consideration for the 2024 Grammy Awards' Best Contemporary Christian Album category due to a song that contains explicit language.
Rolling Stone reports Grant, whose offstage name is Matthew Blake, was shocked after their album was suddenly moved from the Best Contemporary Christian Album category to Best Pop Vocal Album.
The artist says the category change "completely buried" their chance at a Grammy considering the Best Pop Vocal Album category typically highlights music superstars such as Adele, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga.
The Recording Academy confirmed to Rolling Stone that the move was was due to an explicit track on the album called "Esther, Ruth, and Rahab," which pushes for gender equality in the church and features non-binary country artist Adeem the Artist.
Lyrics for the song include lines such as: "So I guess the lesson there was God would only hear a prayer / If it came from a person with a c--k" and "Of course Eve said, 'F--k this system, I am chasing after wisdom.'"
Watch Flamy Grant's "What Did You Drag Me Into?" Music Video:
"We’ve seen the Grammys celebrate diversity in really explicit ways over the years. I would’ve correlated my hopes to that, that maybe Christian music in general isn’t ready for a drag queen singer-songwriter, but at the Grammys, maybe there’s a spot for me," Blake told Rolling Stone.
"I’m telling the story of how I was raised in evangelicalism and struggled with doubting myself, doubting my place in the church, and that I found drag and found my version of Christianity that embraces and accepts LGBTQ+ people. The crazy thing about that explicit song, it’s the most biblical song I’ve ever written. It’s literally about women in the bible. I probably don’t have a more explicitly Christian song on the record," they added.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, the Academy said they are "an open and inclusive organization that embraces artists from all backgrounds and genres."
"Re-categorizing recordings with explicit language/content has been a standard practice for the Gospel & CCM genre committee, given that the Gospel & CCM Field consists of lyrics-based categories that reflect a Christian worldview," the statement continued.
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According to Rolling Stone, the Academy's Best Contemporary Christian Album category "recognizes excellence in a solo, duo, group, or collaborative performance of Contemporary Christian Music, including pop, rap/hip-hop, Latin, and rock. Recordings of sermons are eligible in Best Audio Book, Narration And Storytelling Recording."
According to Erin Anderson, the music manager who consulted Blake during their Grammys submission, the Academy does not specifically mention anything pertaining to the use of explicit language in their requirements for the category, though she was previously aware of the Academy re-categorizing artists for similar reasons.
According to Rolling Stone, no album nominated in the Best Contemporary Christian Album category, which was introduced in 2012, has ever contained explicit language.
Flamy Grant's Bible Belt Baby topped the iTunes Christian chart this year.
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Gallery Credit: Erica Russell