[UPDATED with Protest and After Party] Musicans Call Out Elimination of Grammy Award Categories as Racist

Categories: Grammys
GrammyImage.jpg
UPDATE, FEB, 6, 1:56 P.M.: Presente.org and Grammywatch.org, which has its own petition in circulation, are joining forces in calling for a protest this Saturday over the slashing of Grammy Award categories.

The Facebook page for the protest, which encourages supporters to bring their instruments, reads:

Come Support Musicians- Blues, Mexican, Latin Jazz, Gospel, Cajun, Native American, Hawaiian, others- fighting for music justice!

Join us in sending a message to Grammy President, Neil Portnow and the Grammy Board and Demand that they Reinstate the Musical Categories now!
The action is being called for from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, with folks gathering at the corner of S. Figueroa and W. Pico Blvd. in Downtown Los Angeles. Greg Esparza, vocalist with Chicano soul band Thee Midnighters, has already stated his intention to attend. Later that day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. is an Alternative Grammy Party scheduled to take place at Mama Juana's Latin Lounge in Studio City.

Activists invite people to come and listen to the very music the Grammys are set to stop formally recognizing.

ORIGINAL POST, FEB, 3, 2:23 P.M.: The 54th annual Grammy Awards are gearing up to take place at the Staples Center on February 12th, and when they do, they will be much slimmer than previous ceremonies. The Recording Academy has slashed the number of categories down from 109 to just 78. The consolidation, suspension and elimination of awards has rankled prominent musicians and activists alike.

Carlos Santana, Ruben Blades, Bonnie Raitt, Cornel West, Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon and Bobby Sanabria have all spoken out against the changes saying they deliver a blow to diversity and people of color musicians. Grammy President and Chief Executive Neil Portnow justified them in April of last year describing the previous categorizations as having become "a collage without consistency." Those remarks prompted a coalition of artists to form and issue a letter to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees.

The written statement with numerous signatories didn't mince words in saying that a "collage" was a strength to be preserved at the Grammys and that Portnow's justification was a "blatantly racist." Roughly half of the cut categories were predominately fielded by people of color musicians. At the 54th annual awards, honors for Best Latin Jazz, Hawaiian, Native American, Zydeco or Cajun Albums will be no more. Best Banda, Norteño and Tejano have all been eliminated as stand alone categories and have been consolidated further marginalizing popular musical genres. R&B and Gospel fields were subject to similar cuts.

Sanabria and other Latin jazz musicians took their grievance one step further filing a suit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the name of reinstating their category. The musicians also called for a boycott of CBS, who will broadcast the award ceremonies.

As the Grammys are quickly approaching this month and millions will be set to tune in, Presente.org, a national Latino advocacy group, has taken up the overall cause. They are currently circulating a petition to be delivered to Portnow next week demanding that the Grammy award categories in question be reinstated in support of diversity. People who sign on, the organization says, will also be sending a strong message of support for the genres and musicians who gift their talents to them.

Seriously, no more Best Native American Music Album category while Best New Age Album remains intact? That's just wrong!
My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Plfoht
Plfoht

They took out Classical music and jazz too not simply a LATIN issue????????? Way to go to make this a race issue? Look at what they took out in the entirety.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

It most certainly isn't just a 'Latin' issue. The Latin Jazz community was particularly vocal about it, though.  The changes homogenize music culture in general, hence "blow to diversity."

But the effects on people of color musicians can not be ignored. As Portnow was introducing the collage of musicians lost over the past year, culminating in Whitney Houston's recent passing, it's ironic that four of her six Grammys would not have been had the changes been implemented back then.

http://colorlines.com/archives...

Soho_d J
Soho_d J

Lets face it no one who is really into music gives a toss about the Grammys. This is just another pat on the back for industry lackeys and their fans. All types of real music routinely get ignored by this event and have for years. Award shows are for the sheep.

Michelle Quinn
Michelle Quinn

Ok the Mexican moans bags, now wants Special treatment in the music awards. And we wonder why the Mexican government can't get anywhere in moan vil. U lot truly are your own worst enemy:(

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

Oh stop your moaning Michelada Quinn! Nobody is seeking special treatment, just recognition for their hard work.

Michelle Quinn
Michelle Quinn

It's Michelle!

 And I am not the one crying for recongnition based on my RACE or ethnic origin. I suggest, if your not nominated, then the music is shite:) And yes, it is seeking specail treatment when you base anything on race or ethnic orgin, when talent does not come into play. I love listening to wood instruments and celtic music  (Christy Moore) but it is not everyone's cup of tea. Most people would not know what a armalight is:)

Soho_d J
Soho_d J

shut the fuck up or at least sober up.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

How can it be considered "special treatment" when the issue of "reinstatement?" Mexican musicians are only a part of those affected by the changes. But hey, erasing Native peoples off the category list? C'mon now! Haven't they been erased from enough things already?

Michelle Quinn
Michelle Quinn

Well, then we should have Irish, Italian ect...No, like all things, Mexicans what it all. Guess what you can't have it all. Such an annoying bunch:(

Michelle Quinn
Michelle Quinn

Yes, and sadly a people that once fought hard, now like most minorities have fell into the distructive behavior of alcohol and welfare. Always the victim and never the warrior:(

MIckey Rartin
MIckey Rartin

 If there is an entire Grammy Awards just for Latinos, shouldn't all races have their separate but equal award shows? 

Bill T.
Bill T.

LIfe is not fair. Latino music is a well-recognized genre with rabid fans. I'm too lazy to get the numbers but I suspect that sales are in the neighborhhod of 10:1. A bit arbitrary to have a Latino category and not Irish (or insert your fav ignored group here. Mine's Tuvan throat singers. No, seriously), but not totally unreasonable, it's really all about the marketing anyway.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

Maybe Native Americans will take comfort that at least their flutes and drums will be appropriated by Grammy nominated New Age music.

Or not.

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

Good looking with this story GSR. It's completely disgusting that the Recording Academy will be denying these genres their deserved recognition and instead be sweeping them under the rug. Diversity is always good!

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Events

Loading...