Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NARAS Eliminating the Latin Jazz Category from GRAMMY Awards

The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is shocked and disappointed by the news that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has chosen to eliminate the Latin Jazz category from the GRAMMY awards. Latinos are the second-largest demographic group in the United States, at over 50 million people in the 2010 Census, and our contributions to jazz are an essential part of our country's past, present, and future musical heritage.

The elimination of Latin Jazz from the GRAMMYs is an affront to the achievements of some of our nation's most heralded musicians: Tito Puente, Machito, Mario Bauza, Chico O'Farrill, Paquito D'Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, and many more. Moreover, it does a disservice to the thousands of talented and committed artists who are now dedicating their lives to playing this beautiful and powerful music, an art form with its own unique history and tradition. America's Latin Jazz performers, composers, arrangers, and producers sacrifice so much to be able to create brilliant, original music in the Latin Jazz form; they deserve the same recognition and support enjoyed by their peers working in different styles.

Latinos have made important progress toward equality in recent years, with growing representation in our nation's political, economic, and cultural institutions. We are deeply disappointed to find today that this progress will not be reflected in our country's most important musical award, where the message now seems to be, "Latin Jazz musicians need not apply."

Ostensibly, the reason for the GRAMMY award is to recognize excellence in art. The Academy's decision is an abandonment of artistic goals and is injurious to the livelihoods of Latin Jazz musicians who must compete in a marketplace that perceives the GRAMMY as a indicator of artistic credibility--and hires accordingly.

We urge NARAS to rethink its decision and we ask all NARAS members, musicians, and fans throughout the world to demand better.

Please take a moment to express your opposition through signing this petition.

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