Grammys Change Up Award Categories

Is this a referendum on the state of R&B and hip-hop?

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Yes, the Grammys were full of controversy in 2011, with some folks claiming that Esperanza Spalding didn't deserve the statuette for best new artist. Steve Stoute aired his grievances in the New York Times with a $40,000 full-page ad, hoping to get the attention of Neil Portnow, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Grammys.

But in news out of the NARAS office, the Grammys will be making 30 changes to the categories in the 2012 award show. Along with changes among classical and American roots music categories, the R&B categories will merge the male and female nominees into one category, and the best rap solo performance and the best rap performance for a duo or group will also become one category.

Hmm. This ensures that black artists will walk away with less opportunities to win. Will the categories host more than five nominees -- with 10 nominees per award à la the Oscars' best picture award?

Stoute says that this is "a step in the right direction, but still a Band-Aid on the problem."

OK? We were a bit confused about Stoute's claims in the first place (Justin Bieber over Esperanza, um, no?!). But now we just don't know what to think about his concerns.

What do you think about the cuts? Are there enough talented hip-hop and R&B artists out there to fill the old categories? Or is this a step in the right direction?

In the other news: How to Talk About AIDS in Church.

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