LOS ANGELES -- A crowd of about two dozen here protested just outside the property of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, demanding renewed recognition for categories axed from the Grammy Awards last year. In the fields of R&B, American roots music, classical, Latin, jazz, country, pop rock, gospel and others, a dispirate group came together for a single cause. There were also petitions presented to Recording Academy officials, signed by at least 23,000 people, in support. Posters circulated around the city before the event bore a pricetag attached to the familiar Grammy gramophone statue.
Windwalker, a Native American musician, said she came from a tiny town in Southern New Mexico for the protest.
We submitted our music, as we always do, but it clearly was not nominated, or recognized she said about her recording group Wind, Spirit, Drum. We thought we submitted for the children. We keep this music alive as a preservation of culture, of language, of our pasts. For our children. This is why we're upset.
The Recording Academy announced last year that the 54th annual awards would cut 31 of its categories. This was in order to make its selection process more competitive, according to Grammy president and CEO Neil Portnow. The news was met with shock and sadness for many, and a group of well-respected and Grammy-honored musicians took action against the decision. A coalition of musicians, led by Carlos Santana and Paul Simon, took up a similar protest in honor of the cause last May, but its impetus and existence appeared to have waned by the time this year's events took place.
The demonstration took on the feel of a vigil after a group of Latin musicians--singing, playing flute, shakers, cowbells and drums--went tacit. But as the sun set on South Figueroa Street in downtown LA, the protests held strong. Though the group was shunted off the actual Grounds of where the Grammys were held at the Staples Center, they made at least a visual impact as the funeral-procession-like train of black limos and cabs rolled into the heavily guarded event.
When IBTimes reported the protest last week, one commenter showed digital support:
What about the JLO, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Selena Gomez, and etc. snub. Bruno Mars is the only Latino performing and will be the best!
A commenter on another Grammy-related article stated this case:
Despite the oversight that none of the eliminated traditional, regional and minority categories were ever featured on the live broadcast, and despite interesting quotes from various opinionated taste makers, it should be kept in mind that NARAS is a *Membership*-based 501(c)(6) Business League as per the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, while the Grammy itself is a peer-based 'Standard of Excellence', awarded by fellow musicians other recording professionals.
Mutual Benefit organizations such as Professional and Trade Associations have a responsibility to represent the best interests of ALL of its Members, and not allow governance and procedures for establishing criteria and standards to be compromised to stack the cards in favor the 'Big Box Stores' and entertainment conglomerates while cutting out independent and minority businesses.
Also, Trade Associations, by its nature as an organization of competitors fulfill the condition of Combinations defined US Sherman Act. Their exclusionary conduct to make cuts without notification and participation of Members and Chapters appear to be consistent with the kind of discriminatory, unfair and anticompetetive behaviors that definitely cross the line of Sherman into areas of Antitrust. Perhaps an IBT journalist examine these aspects more closely.