Monday’s 58th Annual Grammys Awards are coming under fire over a lack of diversity regarding both nominations and the number of tributes aimed at honoring white musicians who died over the last year.
Page Six reports industry insiders have complained that Maurice White of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, and singer Natalie Cole have been relegated to a video tribute with other late musicians, while departed, white musicians will receive big tributes during music’s most prestigious night.
Both black artists passed away in recent months.
During Monday’s ceremony, Lady Gaga will perform an eight-minute tribute to David Bowie, while singer Jackson Browne will honor Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey and Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp will perform a tribute for late Motörhead frontman Lemmy.
An insider told Page Six, “Over the last week or so, since Maurice White passed away, there has been back and forth with the producers and the academy about some kind of representation of him during the show.”
The person continued: “The tributes they’ve confirmed are all white. As of yesterday, there was no tribute at all for Maurice because Grammy producers said they didn’t have time,” one insider told us.
The source said people are afraid to bringing up the Grammys diversity issue, and concluded, “there’s a history of them not acknowledging black artists,”
Another source told the site the show’s producers are scrambling to add more diversity to the lineup.
“Maurice White and the group he founded had unprecedented impact on pop culture. After a lot of pressure, producers are trying to figure out how to properly pay tribute to him. It’s still in limbo,” the person said.
Last week, Rolling Stone complained about a lack of diversity in the music awards show’s all-white Best New Artist nominees, and compared the Grammys to this year’s controversial all-white Academy Awards acting nominations.
“White people rejoice! You’ve managed to cold-jack yet another awards season, and in February no less. The Oscars will be whiter than they’ve been since 1998, and this year the Grammy Awards promise to be a throwback to that time when Shirley Temple got down in blackface — dumb-stoopid-affected accents and all,” wrote the magazine’s Raquel Cepeda.
Rolling Stone further complained the Best New Artists category will be a “white re-imagining of R&B,” and took aim at last year’s big winner, white singer Sam Smith.
Despite comparisons to this year’s Oscars, which has been sharply criticized for nominating only white actors for two years in a row, black entertainment industry magnate Quincy Jones has more nominations than anyone in the show’s nearly six-decade history.
Additionally, Beyoncé is the most-nominated female artist of all-time.