The outspoken veteran director broached the topic during a feature interview with The Guardian. While he declined to comment on a recent controversy surrounding the nomination of the film To Leslie at this year’s Oscars, writer Nadia Khomami noted that Lee was “more forthcoming” when it came to discussing the Grammys.
Lee pre-empted his comments by admitting that he was “not the male president of the Bey Hive” – the long-standing nickname of Beyoncé’s fanbase. He did, however, “love and support” the singer.
“Her album [‘Renaissance’] is amazing,” he said. “I know she’s won multiple Grammys, but four times nominated for album of the year and she’s lost every time? No disrespect to those artists like Adele or Harry Styles who won – it’s not their fault – but that’s some straight-up bullshit.”
Lee went on to note the “history of great black artists” who are nominated for prestigious awards and do not win – indeed, Lee himself was nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars and the Golden Globes for the first time in his career for the 2019 film BlacKkKlansman, but did not win at either.
“We all know their work is great, because art speaks for itself,” he said. “But then it always comes down to this tricky territory of validation. Do black artists say ‘Fuck it’, or seek white validation and chase awards?”
Although Beyoncé did not win Album of the Year, she did win several awards throughout the night – including Best Dance/Electronic Recording (for ‘Break My Soul’), Best Dance/Electronic Music Album (for ‘Renaissance’), Best Traditional R&B Performance (for ‘Plastic Off The Sofa’) and Best R&B Song (for ‘Cuff It’).
With this, Beyoncé’s total Grammy wins across her career came to 32 – making her the most-awarded artist in Recording Academy history.