Drag performer “Flamy Grant” claims he was passed over for a nomination in the Christian category at the Grammy Awards due to “religious gatekeeping.”
The musician, whose real name is Matthew Blake, says that he submitted his album Bible Belt Baby for consideration in the Best Contemporary Christian Album category, but was moved to Best Pop Vocal Album.
The Recording Academy confirmed to Rolling Stone that Blake’s album was moved due to explicit lyrics in one of the songs.
The song in question is called “Esther, Ruth, and Rahab” and features “nonbinary” singer Adeem the Artist, who says, “God would only hear a prayer/If it came from a person with a c-ck,” and “Eve said, ‘F-ck this system, I am chasing after wisdom.’”
“The Academy is an open and inclusive organization that embraces artists from all backgrounds and genres,” the Recording Academy said in the statement. “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.”
However, Blake insists that the move was intended to “bury” him among much larger names.
In a post on Facebook, Blake wrote that he is aware that his “expression of Christianity ruffles feathers. It’s designed, in fact, to do precisely that.”
“But this album still expresses—deeply—a Christian story, faith, and worldview,” he said. “I’m not Paul or Abraham or even Ruth. My story aligns more with Hosea, who married a sex worker to make his point. With Ezekiel, who baked bread over literal human shit to address corruption. With Isaiah, who spent three years naked to grab the attention of an unjust society. I identify with the obscene ones.”
He continued, “But Hosea, Ezekiel, and Isaiah all have their place in the story, and something powerful to say. They all point their cultures back to justice, hope, and the promise of redemption.”
“It was surprising to experience religious gatekeeping from the The Recording Academy ᴿᴾ and the Contemporary Christian Grammy screening committee. The typically progressive Grammys seemed like my best shot at seeing my art represented in the world of Christian music.”
Blake said that he intentionally chose explicit words for the song “because it is an indictment of Christian culture that elevates men while diminishing women and queer folks (not to mention people of color, folks with disabilities, and other marginalized groups). It’s Isaiah naked in the public square.”
Therefore, the drag artist concluded that the Grammys, and the Recording Academy, are “still a haven for Christianity that evicts its conscience to pursue political power above the justice, mercy, and humility.”