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Grammys Won’t Reinstate Slashed Categories, And Please Don’t Call Them Racist


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The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has no intention of reinstating any of the 31 categories cut from the 2011 Grammy Awards despite the complaints of musicians -- largely Latin jazz musicians -- who have protested and threatened to sue over the matter. In a letter to members published on Digital Music News with the subject "GRAMMY Awards Restructuring," the Academy's Chair of the Board of Trustees George J. Flanigen IV and its President and CEO Neil Portnow write, "The current awards changes will remain in effect for the 54th GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, and we will continue to re-examine our awards process and review new proposals as we do every year."

The most forceful part of the letter rebukes charges made by a group of enraged Latin jazz musicians that implied the slashed categories are disproportionately "ethnic" awards.

"It is disappointing that some individuals chose to make false, inflammatory statements suggesting that this realignment of the GRAMMY Award categories was motivated by race or ethnicity," Flanigen and Portnow write. "The Recording Academy, its Trustees, and its staff have worked tirelessly and diligently on this project and as an organization that continuously strives to uphold the First Amendment, we would never tolerate any attempt to advance a racist agenda using our organization, and we were appalled when these provocative, unwarranted allegations were raised. GRAMMY Award categories have always been based on various genres of music -- not on race or ethnicity."

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