Music fans always complain about the Grammy Awards not getting it right when it comes to the winners. Fans were especially angry that breakthrough rapper of the year Kendrick Lamar was shut out of all seven of his nominations. India Arie, the Grammy Award-winning singer who was shut out of all seven of her Grammy nominations in 2002, posted an open letter on her website blasting the Grammys and the voting procedures.

Arie wrote the letter and slammed the Recording Academy for saying the voting is based on the quality of the music when in all actuality, the voting is more indicative of a popularity contest. India Arie wrote:

@Kendricklamar WAS robbed, BUT he was not the only one who was robbed. Personally, I was pleased he was able to perform and they KILLED! IT! One of the FEW moving moments of the night for ME.

Though it’s called “Music industries biggest night” the #Grammys are NOT about the music, it’s a popularity contest. The voting process allows people, to vote on name recognition alone – the music industry politics is a whole NUTHER conversation.  Too much to go into here.
The American Music Awards is a show that awards sales and popularity – the #Grammys are SAID to be about the music.
If the hip hop community voted on hip hop –  r&b COMMUNITY the same –  same for each category – we’d see winners that reflect the MUSIC ITSELF. We all know that’s just not the way it goes.
NOW the BIGGER losers, are ALL of black music. Where was the black music community represented in last nights #Grammy show? Performers and Winners (or not) … Where were the black artists?
And this isn’t the first time the #Grammy’s has had a show all but excluding young black America and black artists in general, although we set the worlds musical trends. Why NOT televise the lifetime achievement awards of the Isley Brothers? SURELY they deserved to be on televised stage LAST NIGHT! While other artists were on stage TWICE?
The truth is in a perfect world diversity would matter, and respect would be rampant, but the TRUTH is, The #Grammys is a television show, and in THAT world ratings reign supreme.  So, in general, bigger names take the stage, and sadly the biggest names often times ARE BIGGER drawn along racial lines from the release of an album. i.e. marketing dollars, and just general support.  It’s unfortunate.
I don’t even get surprised any more, but, it still hits my sense of fairness, because I KNOW many of the artists who are overlooked. I LIVE in that world. We keep showing up and subjecting ourselves to the game, hoping MAYBE we’ll win. I was so HAPPY to see @Kendricklamar take that stage – because it is a FORM of winning, at LEAST, he was SEEN.
Speaking of diversity, congratulations to my PERSONAL favorite albums of the year –  @I_GregoryPorter #LiquidSpirit @Realsnarkypuppy and @lalahhathaway on your win and THANK YOU! @pharrell for acting RIGHT in the presence of the greatness that is @Nilerodgers and #StevieWonder
Love to all #SoulBirdsWorldWide
P.S. No mention of Nelson Mandela at ALL? … and THIS is why we NEED the Image Awards AND the BET awards.
Do you agree with what India Arie had to say? should the Grammy voting be compartmentalized the way she described in the letter? Sound off below.

4 thoughts on “India Arie Slams Racism Involved In Grammy Voting

  1. Here’s the idea for me. Again, we are good at blaming everybody else for why we don’t succeed when in fact we are better, smarter, stronger, etc. What if we stop feeding into the stereotypes that makes us unmarketable? What if we stop making snap music and started making real music like India Arie, Snarky Puppy & Layla, the Isley Bros? The crossover ability lies in real music, not lyrics about the projects, selling drugs, posioning the community and consciencousness of the black mind. What if for once we decided to original and not a cookie cutter community of thugs, gangstars, rappers (instead of hip-hop artist)? What happened to the ‘Common Sense’ approach to making good hip-hop that would be ‘Mos Def’ hot music? White culture doesn’t want to here about your baby mommas, the drugs you sold, the hoes you got, or the cars you drive, know why? They have always had that stuff and don’t care that much about it. They want to here about socially wider ideas, thoughts, concepts, and behaviors, not the stuff done on MLK Blvd.


  2. Unfortunately the awards like the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy are valued more than the Soul Train, BET and NAACP awards. I don’t think most black artists will admit it but they know the awards that are handed out by the white organizations make them more bankable. Most black artists strive to have what the industry calls “crossover appeal.” The Grammy’s will not go away and black artists will not boycott them in great numbers. The Grammy is a coveted award that allows them to make more money. Look what happened to Miss Black America.

  3. Mac Ben on said:

    …so… why don’t black artists and music “moguls” get together and create their own “Black Grammy”? I mean we have Miss Black America, JET Magazine, BET, Ebony, HBCUs and the NBA. It is high-time niggas stopped crying about what white folks are doing with their programs & awards and wondering why Massa won’t accept our wild-ass ways; put up or shut up.

  4. Devia P. Phinisee on said:

    India, you got it right about the Grammys. It was painful for me to watch and to see our talented Black artists overlooked for a grammy award. Is it possible for all Black artist to agree to boycott next years award show? Thank God for the NAACP Image Award, BET Award Show the Soul Train Award Show.

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