Tuesday, January 28, 2014

India Arie Writes Open Letter to The Grammys: No Love For Urban Music?

Every year when the Grammys airs, the dialogue regarding it's exclusion of "urban music & artists" from the main show is ever present. Every year. In the past rap artists have gone as far as boycotting "music's biggest night" due to their being very little love shown to their genre. Ironically, when the awards are being promoted, the producers are sure to mention those big names that will pull a nice portion of their views, most of those names are "urban" music artists.

While I could fully elaborate on my opinion of this, I wanted to share this issue from the perspective of one of those artists who seems to be easily overlooked. Never being one to bite her tongue regarding her view on the plight of acceptance and love overall,  one of my favorite artists, India.Arie took to her personal blog to share her frustrations with the Grammys. She sort of takes the words right out of many mouths as she talks about the issue of diversity and voting overshadowing the Grammy Awards production. Read her full post below.

The 2014 Grammy’s: Open Letter from @IndiaArie

@Kendricklamar WAS robbed, BUT he was not the only one who was robbed. Personally, I was pleased he was able to perform and they KILLED! IT! One of the FEW moving moments of the night for ME.

Though it’s called “Music industries biggest night” the #Grammys are NOT about the music, it’s a popularity contest. The voting process allows people, to vote on name recognition alone - the music industry politics is a whole NUTHER conversation. Too much to go into here.

The American Music Awards is a show that awards sales and popularity - the #Grammys are SAID to be about the music.

If the hip hop community voted on hip hop - r&b COMMUNITY the same - same for each category - we’d see winners that reflect the MUSIC ITSELF. We all know that’s just not the way it goes.

NOW the BIGGER losers, are ALL of black music. Where was the black music community represented in last nights #Grammy show? Performers and Winners (or not) … Where were the black artists?

And this isn’t the first time the #Grammy’s has had a show all but excluding young black America and black artists in general, although we set the worlds musical trends. Why NOT televise the lifetime achievement awards of the Isley Brothers? SURELY they deserved to be on televised stage LAST NIGHT! While other artists were on stage TWICE?

The truth is in a perfect world diversity would matter, and respect would be rampant, but the TRUTH is, The #Grammys is a television show, and in THAT world ratings reign supreme. So, in general, bigger names take the stage, and sadly the biggest names often times ARE BIGGER drawn along racial lines from the release of an album. i.e. marketing dollars, and just general support. It’s unfortunate.

I don’t even get surprised any more, but, it still hits my sense of fairness, because I KNOW many of the artists who are overlooked. I LIVE in that world. We keep showing up and subjecting ourselves to the game, hoping MAYBE we’ll win. I was so HAPPY to see @Kendricklamar take that stage - because it is a FORM of winning, at LEAST, he was SEEN.

Speaking of diversity, congratulations to my PERSONAL favorite albums of the year - @I_GregoryPorter #LiquidSpirit @Realsnarkypuppy and @lalahhathaway on your win and THANK YOU! @pharrell for acting RIGHT in the presence of the greatness that is @Nilerodgers and #StevieWonder

Love to all #SoulBirdsWorldWide

P.S. No mention of Nelson Mandela at ALL? … and THIS is why we NEED the Image Awards AND the BET awards.
Do you agree with India on this?

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