Only 11 Black artists have won album of the year at the Grammys — here they all are

Only 11 Black artists have won album of the year at the Grammys — here they all are

jon batiste grammys 2022 performance

Jon Batiste performs at the 2022 Grammys.

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  • In the 66-year history of the Grammy Awards, only 11 Black artists have won album of the year.
  • Stevie Wonder became the first Black artist to win in 1974 for “Innervisions.” He has since won thrice.
  • Jon Batiste took home the award in 2022 for “We Are,” becoming the first Black artist to win since 2008.


1974, 1975, 1977: Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder at the Grammys in 1974, left, and 1975.

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Stevie Wonder became the first Black artist to win album of the year in 1974 for his 16th studio album, “Innervisions,” 15 years after the inaugural Grammys ceremony.

He won again in 1975 for “Fulfillingness’ First Finale,” becoming just the second artist ever to win the award in consecutive years, after Frank Sinatra in the ’60s.

Along with Sinatra, Paul Simon, and Taylor Swift, Wonder is one of just four artists who has won album of the year three different times; Wonder won again in 1977 for “Songs in the Key of Life,” and he remains the only artist in Grammy history to win with three consecutive studio albums.


1984: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson at the 26th annual Grammy Awards in 1984.

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Michael Jackson won album of the year in 1984 for his magnum opus, “Thriller.”

That year, Jackson became the first artist ever to win eight Grammy Awards in one night. The record was later tied by Santana in 2000.


1985: Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie at the 27th annual Grammy Awards in 1985.

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Lionel Richie won album of the year in 1985 for “Can’t Slow Down,” his second solo album.

1991: Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones at the 33rd annual Grammy Awards in 1991.

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Quincy Jones won album of the year in 1991 for “Back on the Block,” an album he produced that features various artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Ice-T, and Ray Charles.


1992: Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole at the 34th annual Grammy Awards in 1992.

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Natalie Cole won album of the year in 1992 for “Unforgettable…With Love,” her 12th studio album.


1994: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston at the 36th annual Grammy Awards in 1994.

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Whitney Houston won album of the year in 1994 for the soundtrack of “The Bodyguard,” a film she starred in.

Houston recorded most of the soundtrack’s songs, and also served as the album’s co-executive producer with Clive Davis.


1999: Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill at the 41st annual Grammy Awards in 1999.

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Lauryn Hill won album of the year in 1999 for her debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

She became the first-ever hip-hop artist to win the prestigious award. Hill is also one of just five artists to win album of the year and best new artist in the same night, a feat most recently achieved by Billie Eilish.

As Billboard notes, Hill is the only female artist in Grammys history to win album of the year for an album on which she was the sole producer.

2004: Outkast

Outkast at the 46th annual Grammy Awards in 2004.

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Outkast won album of the year in 2004 for “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” the duo’s fifth studio album.


2005: Ray Charles

“Genius Loves Company” co-producer Phil Ramone at the 2005 Grammys, far left, and Ray Charles at the 1967 Grammys, far right.

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Ray Charles posthumously won album of the year in 2005 for “Genius Loves Company,” his final album. The album’s two co-producers, John Burk and Phil Ramone, accepted the award on Charles’ behalf.

2008: Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock at the 50th annual Grammy Awards in 2008.

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Herbie Hancock won album of the year in 2008 for “River: The Joni Letters,” a tribute album comprised of Joni Mitchell covers.


2022: Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste at the 64th annual Grammy Awards in 2022.

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Jon Batiste won album of the year in 2022 for “We Are,” his sixth studio album.

Batiste was up for the award again in 2024 for “World Music Radio,” but lost to Taylor Swift’s “Midnights.”


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