A coalition of musicians, including Paul Simon, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock, is protesting the recently announced changes to the Grammy Awards.
Last month, the Recording Academy announced that it would be cutting 31 categories from the 54th annual awards ceremony. According to Grammy president and CEO Neil Portnow, these categories, which include Contemporary Blues, Native American and Latin Jazz, were eliminated to make the Grammys more competitive.
The coalition, led by four-time Latin Jazz Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria, argues that the cuts unfairly target ethnic music and were decided upon without the input of Academy members. The artists are demanding a reinstatement of the categories.
Paul Simon wrote in a letter to Portnow: “I believe the Grammys have done a disservice to many talented musicians by combining previously distinct and separate types of music into a catch-all of blurry larger categories. They deserve the separate Grammy acknowledgements that they’ve been afforded until this change eliminated them.”
Carlos Santana stated in a separate letter with his wife Cindy Blackman Santana: “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 colours of the rainbow when it comes to music and give ethnic music a place in the heart of music lovers everywhere.”
The date for the 54th annual Grammy Awards has yet to be announced.