2017 Year In Review: Beyonce & Rihanna Suffer Worst Grammy Upsets of Their Careers

Published: Monday 11th Dec 2017 by Rashad

Scribbled in history books for its fair share of good and awesomely bad reasons, 2017 brought with it some of modern music’s most memorable moments.  Now, as the year draws to a close, TGJ is reflecting on our favorite happenings that rocked – and to some degree reshaped – the Urban and Pop musical landscape as we know it.

Next up we reflect on the Grammy upsets that rocked the fan bases of Urban music’s leading ladies:  Beyonce & Rihanna:

Racial diversity at award shows has become almost as much of a hot topic in recent years as the nominees.  And, after watching the Oscars experience a backlash with #OscarsSoWhite in 2015 & 2016 for nominating no actors of color in major categories (click here to read more), the Recording Academy opted to place the artistic efforts of Urban acts – especially those of color – at the forefront of its nomination tally.

With Beyonce’s critically acclaimed ‘Lemonade’ leading with a whopping 9 nods, she was followed by DrakeKanye West, and Rihanna (8 respectively), and Chance the Rapper with 7, fans – especially those of Urban music’s leading ladies – were sure they were in for a sweep.  Bey, many assumed, would finally get her hands on that coveted  Album of the Year Grammy while Rih – many also assumed – would finally be celebrated for her most artistically daring and mature work to date.

Both were wrong.

Despite entering the night with the most nominations, early losses almost made it clear the Queen Bey was in for an upset.  Ultimately leaving with two wins on the night, Best Music Video for “Formation” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for “Lemonade,” her main competition – Adele – who (in historic fashion) won every award she was nominated for (including ‘Album of the Year’), even questioned how it was possible.

Start at 1:49

Elsewhere, Rihanna fans – affectionately called #TheNavy – were fuming when the ‘Work’ wailer walked away with 0 of the 8 awards she was up for.  Working her way into history books in the process, she – alongside her ‘Famous’ collaborator Kanye West – now stand as owners of the titles “most nominated male & female with no wins in a single night.” [click here to read more about that]


The shutouts led to fierce debates, criticism, and analysis on a number of online forums and platforms where many questioned if the diverse nomination list leading into the ceremony was simply a guise to attract viewership from minorities.   The flames got so hot the Recording Academy president, Neil Potnow, clapped back stating:

“It’s more about personal taste, so it’s hard for me to criticize when we see no basis that [the results] are about anything other than music, and certainly not race. That’s how democracy works.”

“[Some of] the comments I’ve seen come from not understanding at all how this works,” says Portnow. “It’s one thing to be a critic, and another to join and vote and be part of the change that you want to see.” [click here to read his full statement]

As revealed here, 2018’s Grammy nomination tally – like this year’s – is led primarily by acts of color.  Only time will tell if the results will mirror those of 2017.

Your thoughts?

Comments 47

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. 2bad2bme December 11, 2017

    The Grammys are ran by white people with white people taste. they only include colored artists just to save face. Nothing is based on a range of quality taste in music.

  2. Datredd23 December 11, 2017

    They definitely wronged Anti! But it’s not the first time Mariah lost 3 album of the years noms and Dianna Ross never received a traditional Grammy her whole career!

    • Bam December 11, 2017

      Yeah I think Anti deserved something especially for Love on the Brain.

      As for Beyoncé I’m sorry but I can’t feel sorry for someone who’s always being given awards for work that is mediocre. She won six Grammys for that mess I am…Sasha Fierce, that is some bullsh*+. It’s good that there is something she’s actually gonna have to grind for to get. Lemonade was a giant step in the right direction but she’s gonna have to do better.

      • Kelsey December 11, 2017

        sHut up dumbass.Call an album mediocre after you release a album.
        Forget popularity for sexual mediocre songs from Rihanna.People want music with depth and music that tackles issues of life not s** s** s**….that’s Mediocrity.

      • Bam December 11, 2017

        Lol I got yo water boiling b*+ch. Stay mad cause the truth is in that tea I just served.

  3. Suicide Blonde December 11, 2017

    Not only was Adele disrespectful to the other artists nominated but she was pathetic, so are The BeyHive, Beyoncé hasn’t made an album worthy of AOTY, that’s the truth, however, Taylor Swift has won AOTY twice, so I don’t think winning AOTY is as important as it once was, remember that she lost to Beck, who’s album was light years ahead in terms of quality and musicianship, and then to Adele’s 25, do I need to say more? ??‍♂️ As for Rihanna, Anti is a good album, it deserved something but it all ends there, there’s more to Beyoncé and Rihanna, if you think Lemonade and Anti deserved to be the big winners at the Grammys, then your music library is very limited.

    • 0Joenysmith December 11, 2017

      B**** !! How the f*** was Adele disrespectful to the other artists. Gtfo!

    • ??? December 11, 2017

      lol adele is a big fat pathetic dummy, breaking her damn award to give to that bug. she better pray to god that the grammys will even considers her dumb ass ever again lol.

    • Hmmm December 11, 2017

      Why are you on TGJ? This is an URBAN blog ran by people of COLOR. Clearly, your taste in music and the content of this website are at odds.

      • We are the grandchildren of the slaves you couldn’t kill – tyler December 11, 2017

        THAT PART

    • Meme December 11, 2017

      I don’t like you and normally disagree with all your views but I share the same sentiment that Beyonce has yet to make a AOTY worthy album. And this isn’t me being hard on her or a hater or anything. If you compare the music Beyoncé makes with previous AOTY winners, esspecially the black ones, you’ll see why her body of Work just can’t compare.

      The talented is def there, the drive is def there, but the music is just so far beneath her. I think she needs better writers, and stop making trashy urban bops. R&B can be your core without all that other mess.

      • Assmatic December 11, 2017

        She just needs to go away. That basic voice won’t win no album of the year no soon

    • JOHNVIDAL December 11, 2017

      I agree Adele was disgraceful. She didn´t mean that. But she praised only ONE of the other nominees. I had never seen taht before. It was ridiculous and disrespectful. Plus she should have a little bit more ego and stand by her win. She is way more respected and huge than Beyonce music wise, she didn´t have to do what she did.

      • Bam December 11, 2017

        She was scared the hive was gonna come for her which is hilarious cause looking at her album sales vs Beyoncé’s the whole hive could boycott Adele and she’d still beat everyone sales wise.

      • Caleb December 11, 2017

        But she believed Lemonade was better than the other nominated albums including hers so why would she mention them?

  4. Cory December 11, 2017

    “Lemonade” is dead. The album barely scored a real hit. ANTI stayed on the BB200 much longer.

    I’d like to mention Beyonce has won more Grammy awards than Michael Jackson, Prince, 2Pac (who has zero), Janet Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elvis Presley and so many more truly legendary performers. The weird part is she hasn’t had half of the hits or success they’ve had.

    Billboard’s list of the 50 most successful women of all-time doesn’t even find her in the top 10! However, Rihanna (5), Taylor Swift (10), Katy Perry (9) are.

    The only truth to Beyonce’s “success” is her team has done an amazing job painting her on the level of the Jackson’s or Madonna’s of the world. When you look deeper at her “success” and the fact she hasn’t even had a #1 single in nearly a decade, yet she is always winning Grammy’s for work people have forgotten about. It’s a shame. In what work should Beyonce have more Grammy’s than Prince or Michael Jackson?


    Even on most success albums artists of all-time she doesn’t make the top 10. She’s still below Rihanna, Britney, Miley, Taylor.


    • A&R December 11, 2017

      Stop it! To know music, artistry, and the science behind making a hit is to knownthey all work together but live serpartely. And knowing that explains the answer you’re overlooking. Cardi B just made history with a hit sing that clearly lacks the depth and critical social awareness you speak of. I’m not saying that to say she doesn’t deserve it her accolades, instead, I’m trying to convey that what’s needed to create a hit record doesn’t require what’s looked for in critically acclaimed music. Beyonce has intentionally and purposely moved away from focusing on producing hits. She is now focused on creating complete and artistically driven bodies of work. She states this in her music all the time. This is why she’s so awarded. Not only is her music current and pushes the culture forward, her albums are well developed, packing congruency, themes while tackling social issues, incorporating pop culture and social trends all while creating new trends… and her album roll outs always end up influencing the business behind music. To ignore and not award this women is the be insane! Non of her peers speak about her not having talent like you average folks. Lol I’m so confused. Prince loved Beyonce as an artistic lol pipe down…Beyonce clearly didn’t win album of the year bc she literally took off her unbiased masked and finally revealed that she is for the well-being of blacks and will stand up against racism. The committee wouldn’t dare risk the respect of their white supporters by letting that Panther wanna be win album of the year. Beyonce knew she risked it the moment she did that Super Bowl. She cried bc she also knew this was her most heart felt work. Lemonade was heaven. In true Beyonce fashion, she worked hard to master r&b while successfully pulling in elements she’s not known for… like rock, folk, and country.. then did it like she’s a leader and all those genres. I don’t mind calling her out when she’s not on point but Lemonade was, hands down, one of the best albums EVER! Sasha Fierece was good music but the actual track order on the album was poorly arranged. That was Beyonce trying her hand at a concept album for the first time. If you ever wanted to criticize her trying it.. that’s the time. But my girl is such a professional and hard worker she wa able to even sale and present that like a million dollars. The self titled album was Beyonce’s best mainstream packaged album and Lemonade was her best artistic album. I’m not sure she’ll ever top it. It legit had everything any artist could want to put into music. It had art. Poetry. Life. Politics. Entertainment. Mixture. Balance. It was futuristic while flirting with the past. She didn’t win because she showed the world she wasn’t sleep and she’s was actually a just a LIGHT SKIN black women. The blonde wig had Sarah thinking Beyonce was really like her.


      • Conrad West December 12, 2017

        That part!!!!

  5. thanosoftitans December 11, 2017

    Lemonade and Anti were both mediocre albums imo. They should be glad they were even nominated. They both are capable of better.

    • Cory December 11, 2017

      I think Beyonce is a good performer. I can’t believe people tried to compare “Lemonade” to “Rhythm Nation” or “The Velvet Rope”. That’s just disrespectful.

      The fact she has over 20 Grammy’s and Diana Ross has zero… says a lot. We can stop acting like Beyonce needs more. She hasn’t even sold 20 million albums in the US. Give me a break.

  6. ??? December 11, 2017

    lmao mess. like the roaches always say, if they wanted the bug b*tch to win she would have won. next time tell the h0 to make sure there’s enough money in her payola account for the check to clear lmfaooo.

    • Stacey Weathers Price December 11, 2017

      WITH do that mean?

    • Kelsey December 11, 2017


  7. Meme December 11, 2017

    I pretty sure Adele was most deserving of her wins. But I am still upset how dirty they did rihanna. Rihanna’s project was immaculate. Her best body of Work to date, with music that was both commercially and critically successful.

    The Grammys continues to use big name black artist for views by inviting them to the show, giving them noms (something), only to send them home empty handed and give the big awards to the white artist.

    Again, I’m not trying to take away from Adele because I’m sure her album was better than Beyonce, and i wholeheartedly don’t believe Beyoncé’s album was good enough to win AOTY. But the Grammys needs to do better.

    All hell would break loose come next year if Ed Sheeran basic asz wins over Kendrick. I will not be having any of it.

    • We are the grandchildren of the slaves you couldn’t kill – tyler December 11, 2017

      Anti wasnt even worthy of a nomination

      • Meme December 11, 2017

        You Stan for Beyonce so I can understand your judgement in music. You’re used to elementary level lyrics to urban bops.

      • We are the grandchildren of the slaves you couldn’t kill – tyler December 11, 2017

        It makes no sense for you to bash Lemonade when Aunti wasnt even worthy of a AOTY nomination. The critics clearly werent feeling the same p**** patting chores from all her songs whether its pour it Up, B**** better have my money, her dance tracks. It’s always the same.

      • Meme December 11, 2017

        I’m not bashing lemonade, I gave an honest opinion.

        But you my friend is a pure hater. Rihanna’s Music never sounds the same and the songs you listed wasn’t even on Anti. Rihanna always brings it. Something new and fresh everytime. What p**** patting choruses you speak of? Work was the only island kissed song during the anti era.

      • We are the grandchildren of the slaves you couldn’t kill – tyler December 11, 2017

        How can you call Lemonade elementary when Rihanna releases songs like B**** Better Have My Money and Work?

    • Kelsey December 11, 2017

      Rihanna stand be like ????and you dare call Ed Sheeran basic???Go join the Grammy board and vote your fave.
      It’s so annoying when people who think they know music make noise about their faves making mediocre music with no depth written by people for them.Her song writers deserve all the awards for her hit songs which she average my executes in performances.Overrated artist!

      • meme December 11, 2017

        Sweetie, you do know that every single artist in history has song writers right? Yall act like Rihanna is the only one with song writers. In fact, Beyoncé and Rihanna often work with the exact same producers and song writing team, the exact same. The difference is Rihanna actually turns her songs into hits.

        Some of the greatest artist in history never wrote a single lyric. Whats your point?

  8. My2Cents December 11, 2017

    Rihanna’s Anti deserved a Grammy. She charted more #1 singles from that album than any other album that year. No singles from Bey or Solange’s CDs that won the Grammys that night performed better than anything on Anti. I believe Bey pulled some strings to get her sister that Grammy and the old white guys that vote were too lazy to actually listen to Anti and award it. Intead they mindlessly gave the Grammy to the ones with the better PR teams but worst music.

    Another reason why Rih didnt win could be due to the 2016 Grammy rumor. It was rumored that Rihanna didn’t perform at the 2016 Grammys as scheduled because Bey tried to do a performance late which would have cut Rihanna’s performance extremely short. Rihanna said the hell with that and bounced which caused the Grammy committee to hate her for not bowing down to Bey & their demands. The Grammys said Rih didnt show due to a cold but even if it was a legit cold they seem to have punished her for it by not giving her a Grammy for Anti.

    Jay also never promotes Rih or JCole like he should. Anti & Kanye’s cds were leaked but Jay’s cds are never leaked. Just knowing that fact, lets me know that RocNation probably didn’t even lobby for Anti to win anything. Where is JCole’s Grammy nomination this year? I’m glad Bey didnt win AOTY because her cd was full of stolen concepts and music which is all to common for her. She had two lawsuits surrounding the album during the award show.

    • Kelsey December 11, 2017

      Your assumptions are so desperate and wack as f***. WHAT is you talking about.wow stand have the most delusional ideas.Bet pulled strings for Solange.
      I’m sorry but you don’t know music!

    • Caleb December 11, 2017

      This whole comment needs fact-checking. “Anti deserved a Grammy. She charted more #1 singles from that album than any other album that year.”

      U taking about the billboard hot 100 chart, because I’m pretty sure the only #1 from Anti on that chart was Work.

    • Electrikblue December 11, 2017

      You’re crazy Solanges album was perfection sonically and visually. If you follow her she puts so much work into her music. The Grammy she won that night was well deserved for her category try again. I’m also confused how anyone can say Lemonade wasn’t good?! The visual alone deserved awards smh.

  9. We are the grandchildren of the slaves you couldn’t kill – tyler December 11, 2017

    So what! Lemonade recieved more critical acclaim than any album released that year. If Im not mistaken A Seat At the Table also had more critical acclaim than Anti. Solange put out a solid RnB album. You dont have to be #1 on billboard for yo s*** to be good. Rapsody is the best female rapper out right now and received 2 grammy nominations. According to you, I guess her s*** isnt poppin since its not #1 on Billboard right?

    • My2Cents December 11, 2017

      Anti also had critical acclaim. Lots of it. You can miss me with your critique because you know good and well that Anti deserved a Grammy. Bey has won Grammys that she didn’t deserve (Bey has won Grammys and other awards over Anita Baker, Ledisi, Lala Hathaway, Mary J. Blidge and etc that are all excellent singers with critical acclaim).

      I’m so happy for Rhapsody but we all know that the mainstream doesn’t acknowledge or promote real lyricists like Rapsody. There are so many excellent female rappers that rap substance like 3DNatee but music industry politics that Bey and others play that keep great independent artists down or any signed artists that are real competition down. I’m thankful that Rihanna saw SZA’s talent and let her sing on Anti instead of just write a song like Bey & Nicki did to SZA. But if you let the industry tell Sza’s story and any other black female singers’ story, they’ll say your not good as Bey & family, you must bow down/praise Bey & family in every interview, you must let Bey & family direct your music videos and sign to Tidal/RocNation for any success, Bey & family must cosign your existence/success but dont forget you can never be bigger or win more awards than Bey & family.

      • We are the grandchildren of the slaves you couldn’t kill – tyler December 11, 2017

        Anti was not more critically acclaimed than Lemonade or A Seat At the Table….
        I dont know, dont show, and dont care that Anti wasnt nominated for AOTY. In my opinion it wasnt worthy. I think Beyoncé’s Lemonade was a more cohesive album. I think Lemonade is close to being a VISUAL masterpiece, and will probably end up being the best album she will ever make. There are so many genres of music on it. I’ve seen reviews from straight ahead rock and alternative reviewers who like it a lot.
        Rihannas album , Anti, is chopped liver basically lol. Better luck next era!

  10. JOHNVIDAL December 11, 2017

    How is Rihanna considered for a single grammy to begin with and why does Beyonce have to win more grammys than the many (too many being objective) she already has? Enough with the obsession with these two. Music wise, there are so many people more talented than them out there Neither of these ladies are songwriters to begin with.

    • Kelsey December 11, 2017

      Honestly I agree with you.

  11. Dingell jones December 11, 2017

    Well it’s about dam time they are not the only rb girls in the industry, they have arrived, let some other established rb girls get some shine

  12. Dingell jones December 11, 2017

    Let me know when the Grammy put more rb acts up on stage to perform

    • Bam December 11, 2017

      *more R&B females at that!

  13. Tim Brown December 11, 2017

    These artist have peaked as far as I am concerned. It’s time for the next new crop of artist! I believe that Rih still has gas left in her arsenal—but honestly Bey has been in our faces since the 90’s—she is hanging in there—but she is not going to be able to hang in there with the new wave of talent. She is from a different era of polished pop stars and it shows…you cannot stay on top forever—it is what it is. It’s ageism—its not like their Barbara and Adele—where they’re known for vocals solely. Pop artist always hit a ceiling of sorts in their careers.

    • Caleb December 11, 2017

      Well Madonna says hi because she’s still selling out all the newer chicks when she goes on tour. Who are you to say Beyonce won’t be doing the same at 59?

      • Tim Brown December 11, 2017

        I wasn’t referring to touring—their commercial peak…

  14. DanYiel Iman December 13, 2017

    Surely Beyoncé doesn’t mind she has many grammy awards already!! ?❤️?

Recommended Posts