Thursday, musicians staged a protest in California to demand the Recording Academy reinstate more than 30 categories to the Grammy Awards. Last year there were 109 categories and now they are just 78.
Wielding signs reading “Grammys Honor All Music” and “It’s Not Just About Rap, Rock or Country,” the musicians claimed that the reductions discriminatorily targeted ethnic music.
It was announced last month that the R&B category would be reduced from eight to four. R &B vocal performance for males, females and groups has been combined into one award: R & B Performance Award. The Latin Jazz and other ethnic categories will also be affected for the 2012 Grammy nominations.
Carlos Santana, Paul Simon and Herbie Hancock expressed their support that the categories be reinstated in a letter to the Recording Academy on Thursday.
“We will not be disenfranchised,” the letter states, reports the Associated Press.
Grammy President and CEO Neil Portnow, says that the changes will make the awards more competitive and that the protesters concerns will be examined in for the 2013 ceremony. Demonstrators are strong-willed and optimistic that changes can be done for the 2012 awards, however.
"To remove Latin Jazz and many other ethnic categories is doing a huge disservice to the brilliant musicians who keep the music vibrant for their fans — new and old. ... We strongly protest this decision and we ask you to represent all of the colors of the rainbow when it comes to music and give ethnic music a place in the heart of music lovers everywhere" Santana and his wife expressed to the Academy.
There will now be 20 mainstream categories in comparison to 34, and 54 non-mainstream categories, opposed to 71.
At least one of the protestors has called the changes a subtle form of racism.
(Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)