by Wilfred Okiche
Civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson has lent his voice to those protesting The Recording Academy’s decision to cut the number of categories eligible for awards consideration from 109 to 78.
He sent a letter to Neil Portnow, president of the Academy expressing his dissatisfaction with the academy’s decision to slice the award categories by about one-third as it affected mostly black and ethnic artistes. He requested that his Rainbow Push Coalition meet urgently to express their concerns and help resolve the issue.
The Reverend also raised the possibility of ‘occupying’ the Grammys if talks with the Academy break down. He emphasized that music should be expansive and inclusive and that ‘’so much talent comes from the base of poverty and those in the margins. You limit the base, you miss too much talent.’’
The Recording Academy made the biggest overhaul in it’s 53-year old history and axed some of the instrumental categories in pop, rock and country as well as obscure categories like Cajun music album, classical crossover and children’s spoken word album.
Men and women also compete against each other in the same categories instead of separate categories for both sexes.
The 53rd Grammy awards will be broadcast 12, February 2012 from the Staples centre and will be hosted by rapper LL Cool J.