So a few weeks ago, I finally completed my Open Letter to The Grammys regarding their awards restructure, as well as Steve Stoute, who is behind the initiation of change at the NARAS academy. Taking over 2 months to write and coming in at under 2500 words, I had serious doubts as to anyone actually READING the sh*t, let alone replying to it. However, I figured in this type of situation…. some action is better than no action at all.
So imagine my surprise when The Grammys (or at least the Social Media Directors @ The Grammys and associated people) actually took a look at the Letter I wrote… and replied to it via twitter. Not once… but twice.
So at first glance, we were all like, “@&%*&@^#&%@!!!! Wow. Since when do these people actually LISTEN? Let alone reply?” But then… quickly… reality started kicking in. While I noticed they said they weren’t changing anything about the show… they didn’t mention about the changes being made to the Nomination and Award categories, which was at the heart of my concerns. I again ask them whats good, and they took the time again (thanks) to reply:
…and then the sad times ensued. While I am grateful that someone out there took the time to read, reply and help my letter get to the right people… the right people are still planning to make some drastic, unexplainable changes to the Grammys as planned. While I was thankful and humbled for their time, I was pretty disappointed by the fact that the Grammys would openly continue on a path that so many disagree with.
Enter Carlos Santana, who wastes no time letting his feelings out and telling it like it is/how he really feels. Sitting down with The Province for an interview, Mr. Santana wasted NO TIME going all the way in on The Grammy/NARAS Assocation, pointing out:
Among the 31 categories either collapsed together or eliminated entirely are Hawaiian, Native American and Cajun-Zydeco, which will all merge as regional roots, while contemporary and traditional blues are now just blues. Latin music categories were especially hard-hit, going from seven categories to four, with Latin jazz dropped entirely.
“Why do they cut only this music? Why not other music,” asked Santana who performs at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena Aug. 27.
“I think they’re racist. Period. I do. First of all we have so many categories of Country & Western. Country & Western people have seven to nine to 10 (awards) shows a year and you seldom see Negroes or Latin people. You can’t eliminate black gospel music or Hawaiian music or American Indian music or Latin jazz music because all this music represents what United States is: a social experiment.
“They didn’t even tell other members, only certain people voted, overnight. A lot of people didn’t know this had passed. Quincy Jones didn’t know, Herbie Hancock didn’t know.
“I’m not afraid if they don’t invite me again,” he says, “but I’m not afraid to say that it’s basically racist. Ignorant and racist.”
Great points. Especially about Country Western Music (They have like, 2 different awards shows for Country, GTFOHWTBS), and the fact that they left major contributers and legendary musicians out of the mix. Why would you do that? Seems a bit suspect to me. On top of that… The Grammys have been hit with a lawsuit from Latin jazz musicians Bobby Sanabria, Mark Levine, Ben Lapidus and Eugene Marlow filed a class-action lawsuit against NARAS for eliminating the Latin jazz category and thereby “devaluing” the genre. The academy’s return statement said it “believes this frivolous lawsuit is without merit and we fully expect to prevail.”
While it is a bit ignorant sprinkled in with a bit of racism… It really just comes down to The Grammys acknowledging and celebrating all kinds of music, which they need to get back to, quickly. I sincerly hope that The Grammys has a change of heart. Its becoming apparent within the Music Industry that people are not happy with these changes. And while I know you will do what you want to do in the end… I again urge you to listen to the Musicians that made the Grammys what they are, as well as the consumer who may or may not be watching the Grammys anymore based on these changes.
Thanks for your time. Again.