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Posts tagged "Grammys"


Lila Downs, the colorfully theatrical Oaxacan singer-songwriter who mixes indigenous Mexican roots music with contemporary sounds, has won the award for regional Mexican album, including Tejano.

Downs’ “Pecados y Milagros” (Sins and Miracles) won in a field often dominated by Mexican regional genres such as ranchera and norteño. Besides English and Spanish, Downs also sings in indigenous Mexican languages such as Mixtec, Zapotec and Nahuatl, an artistic choice that underscores her political involvement in supporting native people’s rights.

Grammys 2013: Lila Downs wins for regional Mexican Music | Los Angeles Times

(via genericlatino)

I have a responsibility to speak to the realities of the industry…of music. Because of limitations, stereotypes and expectations within the music industry, there isn’t a diverse representation at the Grammys…As a jazz musician, and even with folk music, Americana music and all kinds of music(s) that are really important and thriving in the music world, they aren’t acknowledged [by the Grammys] because they’re afraid they will lose viewers and commercials. That’s a skewed perspective of what’s going on…It is weird that we don’t have any up-and-coming jazz musicians acknowledged in the mainstream realm, or on the Grammys—until they die—there’s always that 10-minute segment of the people that have…died…I think something is wrong with that, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak to it.

For Caramonica, the issue is not the quality of Adele’s musical offerings, but that her spectacular success at the Grammys – her album 21 brought her six awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for “Rolling in the Deep – represents a particular cultural refusal of progressivism, a nostalgic clinging onto the safety and familiarity of a tried and true musical conservatism. What I want to suggest is that this nostalgia might also be understood as certain kind of white nostalgia for cultural dominance that is perceived as threatened within what is now known as the “post-racial.”

Within the post-racial, which names the illusion that race has been dissolved as a meaningful aspect of social discourse, there is a great tension inside whiteness itself, because while it certainly continues to exercise its power of social dominance, it has had to give up certain privileges of visibility that it once enjoyed. The reality is that whiteness no longer enjoys the full and unencumbered access to the spotlight of cultural influence that it once did. For example, where a televised show like the Grammy Awards was once dominated by images of white bodies (with the occasional black body), the racially diverse performance lineup represented by this year’s Grammys has become commonplace. The reality is that white bodies no longer dominate as the primary images of the show and others like it. At first glance, it would appear that the Grammys have entered into a “post-racial” moment.

Yet, when “post-racial” is understood for what it really is, the racial dynamic of this year’s Grammy Awards becomes much more complex. For in reality, this year’s awards show represents quite clearly that whiteness still can maneuver itself as the apex of cultural iconicity. In the end, this year’s Grammys was nothing more than an exercise in white nostalgia for a bygone era when white music (much of which was a mirrored version of black creativity) enjoyed its place at the top of the music industry’s most privileged spaces.

David Kline, The Grammys As White Nostalgia?, Racialicious 3/1/12.

Lert me add this: I think the mainstream music scene has been on this latest “white nostalgia” trip after the rap-rock trend filtered off on mainstream radio. Some music critics and fans started getting loud (again) about how we’re “going back to ‘real music,” which is coded as “(white) rock-n-roll.” 

Also, this year the people deciding the Grammy winners cut 31 categories of music this year, quite a few of which were, as The Root reported last month, ethnic music like “Latin jazz, Native American, Hawaiin, regional Mexican, zydeco and Cajun music." So, this absence—along with the pairing of older white "rock gods" with younger musicians of color on the Grammys—compounds the "white nostalgia" vibe stinking up the event. 

The awards also struck a bad chord outside the arena – literally. Billboard Magazine reported that about 70 Latino artists and supporters protested the elimination of 31 categories, including Latino Jazz and gospel – the genre Houston got her start in before embarking on her professional career. The advocacy group Presente is also circulating an online petition calling for categories representing Latino, Native American, Cajun and Hawaiian music to be restored.
As alt-country singer Laura Love wails, Arturo’s got a bad feeling about this year’s Grammys. His reactions—and other Racializens’ comments—are here.