Are Changes to the Grammys a 'Subtle Form of Racism'?

Carlos Santana, Paul Simon and others are speaking out against a decision by the Grammy Awards to cut more than 30 categories for the 2012 ceremony, the Associated Press reports.

In April, the Recording Academy announced it would hand out only 78 trophies each year going forward, a 31-award drop from the previous contest. But a coalition of musicians, led by four-time Grammy-winning Latin jazz artist Bobby Sanabria, is now protesting the change.

Simon, in a letter to the Academy's president, said that it was unfair to lump disparate styles of music into larger categories. Santana, Sanabria and others say they see an anti-minority bent to the Academy's rule change:

Carlos Santana and his musician wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, wrote a letter of protest to the Academy, saying: "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."

Sanabria, who is working with musicians including Eddie Palmieri and Arturo O'Farrill, said ethnic music was unfairly targeted, and called it a "subtle form of racism."

The Academy has responded that the category elimination is set for 2012 but may be reconsidered in the future.

Read the full story at Yahoo.


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Spencer Kornhaber is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers pop culture and music. He was previously an editor of Patch.com and a staff writer at OC Weekly. He has written for Spin, The AV Club, and RollingStone.com.

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