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Was Adele's Acceptance Speech Racist?

Comments made Feb. 12 at the Grammy Awards by Adele in reference to fellow superstar singer Beyonce have sparked controversy. 

"I can’t possibly accept this award," Adele said after winning album of the year, reports the International Business Times. "I'm very humbled and very grateful and gracious, but my life is Beyonce … the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering, and you make them stand up for themselves."

 "I love you," Adele added. "I always have. And I always will."

Some viewers, however, decried her praise for Beyonce as racist on social media.

"She accepted the award anyway," wrote one Twitter user. "+ talking about how Bey empowers her 'black' friends? what a demonstration of privilege."

"The fact that Adele made that 'black friends' comment and still hasn't explained herself is telling," added another. "People have a right to be upset."

Meanwhile, others jumped in to defend her comments.

"It's important to separate the artist from the award. Adele made it clear who she thought deserved it," wrote Jermaine Spradley, executive editor of Bleacher Report, on Twitter. "The Grammys got it wrong... says her."

"Adele didn't do a 'some of my closest friends are black' she acknowledged that her black friends hear ['Lemonade'] differently," he continued in a separate Tweet. "That's important."

"So like yeah," he finished. "It's never not awkward when someone begins a sentence with 'My black friends'... but 'awkward' ain't always 'offensive'."

Many users agreed.

"Nothing wrong with Adele recognizing how much ['Lemonade'] meant to her Black friends," agreed one black woman. "The album was made for black women."

While many defended Adele, some were not so pleased with the event itself.

According to Kevin Fallon, only ten black musicians have won Album of the Year.

Fallon, who applauded Adele for acknowledging in her speech the contribution of "Lemonade" to the black community, argued that the Grammy Awards has a "whiteness problem."

"It’s an award, something that should seem like it doesn’t matter," he wrote for The Daily Beast. "But it does. If we’re going to make it through this, if we’re going to stay empowered and safe and seen, we need to do better, and that means noticing when institutions with power and influence don’t do better by us. If those who are too often invisible are going to continue to be disappeared and not validated, we need to not stand for it. We need to channel our inner Adele, who has in her own right channeled her inner Beyonce."

Sources: International Business Times, Twitter(2)(3), The Daily Beast  / Photo credit:

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