SOJA, an American reggae band, has won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2022 for their album Beauty in the Silence. The band, which consists of nine white males with dreadlocks, upset famed dancehall performer Spice to win the competition.
It is the third time that the eight-piece reggae band, which was established in 1997, has been nominated in the category.
There was an outburst on social media as followers expressed their disappointment with the Grammys for SOJA's win. Others aren't surprised that an award ceremony infamous for whitewashing has done it again.
A twitter follower wrote
“So now y’all whitewash our music and win a Grammy. Congratulations."
Twitter user @getfabnowboss said
SOJA's win over Spice, a Jamaican artist, reflects the reality that the entertainment industry and the people of Jamaica have "WORK TO DO."
"The grammy awards are literally a competition between artists of the same genre," @441QueenCaramel tweeted. "SOJA didn't even deserve to make it past the local bar in Virginia let alone one of music's highest honors."
Aside from racial and cultural issues, some argued that SOJA lacked the musical prowess to win the award.
SOJA spoke on the red carpet following their victory.
“We’re representing American reggae. We got it. Shout out to the pioneers, Jamaican artists, and everybody that came before us. British artists, and African artists. America is one of the last in the game with this whole Reggae thing.”
The band also stated that some of their members are from Washington, D.C., which they refer to as "Little Ethiopia," and that "music is a mission, not a competition." Two of the group's members are Hispanic, one from Venezuela and the other from Puerto Rico. Those two members spoke forward to express their joy at the victory.
SOJA is a Virginia-based Oscar-nominated band that has been performing for over 25 years. For years, the group has been accused of cultural appropriation.
Spice is known as the "Queen of Dancehall", received a nomination for her debut studio album, 10.
Four other Jamaicans were among the six nominations for Best Reggae Album. Spice, Etana, Sean Paul, Jesse Royal, Gramps Morgan, and SOJA were among them. It was the first time in the 36-year history of the Reggae Album category that two women were nominated at the same time.