Alex Wong, Getty Last week, Nelly's stop at the Sierra Blanca border in Texas…
- Posted on Feb 10th 2012 3:33PM by Cameron Matthews
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The debate began back in August when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences cut some 52 categories from the Grammy Awards while creating 21. The cuts were supposed to be a consolidation of obsolete categories, but many claim the exclusion has marginalized several different cultural traditions and many artists.
"Under President Neil Portnow's leadership, NARAS has failed in its mission to honor, propagate and nurture all forms of American born music and to educate the general public about all genres, not giving preference to one over the other," National Hispanic Media Coalition's Inez Gonzales said in a press conference. Hispanic and Latin categories were among the most affected with Latin jazz, regional Mexican Tejano, banda and Norteno being cut indefinitely from Grammy consideration.
Rev. Jesse Jackson has also taken a stand against the cuts, calling for a protest of the 2012 Grammys. "Music of all arts should be expansive and inclusive," he told the Associated Press. "So much talent comes from the base of poverty and those in the margins. You limit the base, you miss too much talent."
Even though Jackson has not openly claimed NARAS has a problem with diversity, his presence in this debate will surely make race a driving issue. In 2011, several Latin jazz artists sued the Academy, asserting their categories exclusion from future Grammys has caused irreparable harm.
Other categories cut include Zydeco and Cajun music, best classical crossover, Hawaiian music and separate categories for each sex.
Academy president Portnow spoke to Billboard about the controversy, saying, "We're an open organization where anybody can be a member and join and have a voice and be part of the process. We prefer those [members] that work with us. For those who take a hard line with lawsuits and protests, that's their choice. It wouldn't be my preference as a way to work together."
Latin Jazz artist and Grammy winner Oscar Hernandez (pictured above), music fans and past award-winners will stage a protest from 3:30 to 5PM at Staples Center on the day of the Oscars. Tell us what you think of the category shifts below.