5 Black Artists To Look Out For!

This Black History Month, we’re taking a look at some new up-and-coming Black Grammy nominees making history this year!

Like many award shows, the Grammys came under fire in recent years regarding diversity. However, with a surge in popularity for Black women rappers and new digital platforms like TikTok helping to slowly level the playing field for independent artists, this year’s nominations showed recognition for Black artists of numerous different genres.

The 64th Grammy Awards were postponed due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and have been rescheduled for April 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Read on to learn more about some of this year’s newer Black nominees ahead of the Grammys.

Arlo Parks, Nominated for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album

21–year–old British singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks scored two nominations in this awards cycle. A unique blend of soft indie pop, R&B, and lo-fi beats layered over intricately woven lyrics, her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams is a standout amid its contemporaries. Parks is one of several Black nominees for Best New Artist this year, a positive step towards equity in the nomination process.


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Baby Keem, Nominated for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song

This young rapper is making a name for himself at the young age of 21 as well. Keem’s song “Family Ties” with his cousin, the Pulitzer and 13-time Grammy award winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, has snagged two nominations––for best rap performance and best rap song. The song discusses their camaraderie as artists, the events of the last year, and references to numerous record deals and pop culture phenomenons. Keem’s Gen Z centric rap has found its footing on TikTok, with the track “Lost Souls” having thousands of videos made under the sound.


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Mickey Guyton, Nominated for Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song, and Best Country Album

Mickey Guyton made history last year as the first Black woman to be nominated for a solo performance in a country category. She performed her song Black Like Me at last year’s award ceremony, for which she received critical acclaim for standing up to the lack of diverse representation in country music. This year, she’s snagged three nominations for her latest album, Remember Her Name.


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Jimmie Allen, Nominated for Best New Artist

Allen’s 2018 track “Best Shot” climbed to number 1 on the Billboard country charts, cementing the future of his country career. In 2021, he collaborated with Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, and even Mickey Guyton on his collaboration project album, Bettie James. His smooth voice provides for an easy listen in both his solo work and collaboration album.


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Black Pumas, Nominated for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album

The Austin based group, composed of Black lead singer Eric Burton and Latino guitarist Adrian Quesada, is nominated twice this year after previously making the cut for Best New Artist in 2020. The group performed at President Biden and Vice President Harris’ inauguration in 2021, and is set to play the Boston Calling festival this summer. The group’s blend of psychedelia, funk, soul, and rock, is both nostalgic and modern, making them an interesting contender in the rock categories this year.


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Be sure to tune into the Grammys this April for these new artists, as well as iconic Black performers–from Beyonce to Doja Cat and the many trailblazers in between!

About the Author

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Madison Goldberg

Madison E. Goldberg is a senior at Emerson College majoring in journalism and minoring in publishing and photography. She’s covered numerous topics in news and entertainment as a multimedia journalist.