Grammy Nominees Reject Their Nominations Over Lack of Minorities in Children’s Album Category

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Joe Mailander of Okee Dokee Brothers performs at SiriusXM Studio on April 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Three Grammy nominees are taking the unusual step of rejecting their nominations to protest the lack of racial minorities in the children’s album category, saying in an interview that “to have an all-white slate of nominees seemed really tone deaf.”

In an interview with NPR, the artists said that they are taking their stand in solidarity with non-white and female artists.

“We thought that it was the strongest thing we could do, to stand with people of color whose albums are too often left out of the Grammy nominations,” Joe Mailander, of the group the Okee Dokee Brothers, told NPR. “This is not just white guys with guitars playing for kids. We want to welcome all different types of music to this community.”

Alastair Moock, whose nominated album is Be A Pain, said he was dumbfounded when the nominations were announced in December. “After this year, to have an all-white slate of nominees seemed really tone deaf,” he said, adding that while he would appreciate winning a Grammy, “I don’t want it like this, where the playing field’s not even.”

In December, three Grammy nominees — the Okee Dokee Brothers; Alastair Moock and Anand Nayak; and Dog on Fleas — sent a letter to the Recording Academy requesting their names be removed from Grammy ballots.

“After a week of soul searching, discussions with our black, brown, and white peers, and consultations with our families, we, the undersigned nominees in this category have come to the conclusion that it’s in the best interest of our genre to decline our nominations,” they wrote. “We can’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has — both this year and historically — so overlooked women, performers of color, and most especially black performers.”

NPR reported that the nominees met with the Recording Academy’s new CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., and its first-ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Valeisha Butterfield Jones. Also attending the meeting was Family Music Forward, a group whose mission is to amplify black voices in children’s music.

“We had the floor, and we had the opportunity to voice our concerns. They definitely responded with a sense of urgency,” Aaron Nigel Smith, a founding member of Family Music Forward, told NPR.

The Recording Academy said it remains committed to “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“We have made a very clear and firm commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a part of our core values,” Butterfield Jones told NPR. “I think many of the actions that we’ve taken and have put into place are signs of that. But we still have a lot of work left to do.”

Like many Hollywood awards shows, the Grammys face collapsing ratings as far-left celebrities continue to alienate viewers with their political grandstanding. Younger viewers who cut the cord or never had cable to begin with also aren’t watching the annual show.

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