Musicians Want Ethnic Grammy Categories Back

They point out that Whitney Houston's original genre is among those that have been eliminated.

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Artists protest the elimination of Grammy categories. (Reed Saxon/Associated Press)

This year 31 categories were cut from the Grammy Awards, and most of them were in ethnic-music fields like Latin jazz, Native American, Hawaiin, regional Mexican, zydeco and Cajun music. Affected artists and their supporters protested outside the Staples Center during last night's telecast, hoping to convince the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to bring the categories back. With some calling the eliminations a "subtle form of racism," they argued that the future of music in the United States and the careers of many artists are at stake, pointing out that even gospel -- the very category in which Whitney Houston got her start -- has been eliminated.

From Billboard:

Latin jazz musicians protested with signs and loud music outside the Grammy Awards on Sunday as they continued their nearly yearlong fight to reinstate 31 categories which were eliminated by the Recording Academy in 2011. 
  
About 70 artists and their supporters took to the streets near the Staples Center while the Grammy pre-telecast was taking place. After the demonstration the group was scheduled to perform at a showcase at Mama Juana's nightclub in Studio City as a way to celebrate their music, show unity and send a message to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) that rallying will continue to bring back the categories.

... Roberto Lovato, co-founder of the Latino advocacy group presente.org, said that there has been outreach to NARAS President Neil Portnow, but nothing has been resolved. 
"It's going to take the opening of the heart and the mind and Neil Portnow and the small group of cronies that made this decision," Lovato said. "They need to take a moment to take their eyes off all the glitter, the money and look at the roots (of the music eliminated). This is about the future of music in the United States." 

Lovato said he also wants to see Springsteen to stand up for the musicians affected by the eliminations.

Additionally, he wants to see Portnow take action. 
"Grammy has taken the route of greed and inequity," Lovato said. "Greed and inequity is not what gave birth to Whitney Houston who started off as a gospel singer, one of the categories eliminated. We're happy that she's being embraced, but we also embrace Whitney Houston as one of our own. She started in our communities, in our churches, in our neighborhoods before she entered the limelight of the Grammys." 

Matos said that group is not going to be happy until the group gets their categories back, adding that the cuts severely affects the careers of many musicians. 
 

Read more at Billboard.

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