We Want Latin Music Fully Recognized At The Grammys
Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.
What do Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Ruben Blades and Cornel West have in common?
They cherish music and are speaking out against the bosses at The Recording Academy, the folks who produce the Grammy Awards and who ruthlessly cut 31 categories of music last year. Just under half of the categories cut were dominated by Latinos and other people of color. 50%!1
The Grammys are coming up on February 12. And genres like Latin Jazz, Polka, Blues, Gospel, Zydeco, Cajun, Hawaiian, Native American, and other categories are being left out. Diversity in the Grammys got a near-death blow—and we need to save it.
Major celebrities have already spoken out, but we need to show the bosses at the Recording Academy just how many fans stand behind them. The Grammy Awards is a major media event, watched by tens of millions of people2. If we can show enough support for our favorite artists, we might be able to bring The Recording Academy back to the negotiating table.
Can you sign this petition asking Neil Portnow to restore Grammy awards for people of color:
The Recording Academy president Neil Portnow spearheaded these cuts with a small committee of music industry insiders. Asked to justify the elimination of these awards President Portnow said there was too much of a “collage” in the Grammy Awards.3
Since when is our music the part of the "collage" that needs to be cut out?
Artists and activists like Carlos Santana, Ruben Blades, Cornel West, Bonnie Raitt, Jesse Jackson, Alison Krauss, and Paul Simon have demanded that the genres be reinstated. And members of the Recording Academy like Bobby Sanabria and other plaintiffs recently filed a lawsuit.
These musical genres not only emerge from communities of color, but also have been linked to social movements throughout our history. Culture is what shapes who we are as a society—it’s the realm of stories and traditions where people form their communities. Our people’s music must be advanced, celebrated and validated, not pushed to the margins. Grammy-winner and supporter of the affected musicians, Carlos Santana, even said "I think they’re racist. Period.”4
Please sign this petition to President Portnow and ask all of your friends to do the same, so that we can stage a massive petition delivery next week and show the world we support these vital genres of music and the amazing people that produce them.
Thanks y ¡adelante!
Favianna, Roberto, Arturo and the rest of the Presente.org team
1. "Grammy Full Category List." 53rd and 54th Grammys.
2. "Grammy audience biggest ina decade." Entertainment Weekly. 02/14/2011.
3. "Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon protest Grammy category cuts; coalition leader calls decision 'blatantly racist'". Los Angeles Times. 05/27/2011.
4. "Slashing Grammys is 'racist,' declares Carlos Santana." The Province. 08/15/2011.