Nonbinary drag performer Flamy Grant topped the iTunes Christian music charts over the summer with her debut record, Bible Belt Baby. Now the album is up for Grammy consideration — but it was disqualified from being considered in the Best Contemporary Christian Album cover over an “explicit” track that featured the words “cock” and “snatch.”
Matthew Blake, who performs as Grant and whose pronouns are they/them out of drag, submitted Bible Belt Baby for consideration for Best Contemporary Christian Album, per Rolling Stone. But they found out last week that the album was instead moved to the Best Pop Vocal Album category, pitting them against some of the biggest pop stars in the world. While being considered for a Grammy at all is an impressive feat endeavor in and of itself, Blake told the magazine that the move “completely buried me,” since their chances at being nominated are now much lower than they would be if they were allowed to be considered in the much more niche Christian music category.
In a Monday interview with Paste Magazine, Blake stated, “Pop music is included in the Contemporary Christian category.” “The only logical conclusion I can come to is that someone in the Academy decided my album qualifies as pop, but not as Christian,” they added.
When reached for comment, the Recording Academy confirmed to Rolling Stone and Paste that it had bumped Bible Belt Baby from the Best Contemporary Christian Album category due to an “explicit” track from the album. “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,” the Academy said in a statement.
The “explicit” track, “Esther, Ruth and Rahab,” pays tribute to the women of the Bible while criticizing the misogyny present in the Christian church. It includes the lyrics, “So I guess the lesson there was God would only hear a prayer / If it came from a person with a cock,” as well as “Secretly most men just fear the snatch.”
“There were no instructions about explicit material for that category,” Blake told Paste. “I’m very used to gatekeepers in the worlds of church and Christian music — that’s a big part of why I’ve dedicated myself to this work. But I never expected to encounter religious gatekeeping at the Grammys.”
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Blake is certainly no stranger to their work being flagged in this way — in August, they successfully filed a temporary restraining order in conjunction with a local Pride organization against Tennessee’s anti-drag law. They claimed that their right to free speech was violated by a letter they received from a district attorney, who expressed “concerns” about a planned Pride event.
“But I’m still here, still taking up space in Christianity, still advocating for the inclusion of queer kids like me who grow up in these churches that ignore and oppress them,” they told Paste.
The Grammy nominations will be officially announced on November 10.
Originally Appeared on them.