NEW YORK—A coalition including Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon and Bill Cosby and organizations like the National Institute of Latino Policy are protesting the Recording Academy’s decision to drop 31 categories from the Grammy Award. They are calling for a boycott of the Grammys’ telecast partner, CBS, and hiring a lawyer to explore legal action.”We will ask people to stop watching CBS, boycott their sponsors and then write them,” said Bobby Sanabria, a Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician and the leader of the coalition, in an interview Wednesday night. “We’re at a critical juncture.”

Most of the changes are in the ethnic categories. For example, in the Latin Category, Best Tejano Album has been combined with Best Regional Mexican Music Album and Best Norteno Album has combined with Best Banda Album.

In response, the Recording Academy sent a letter to it’s members Thursday evening that while it respected the coalition’s right to disagree, it rejected its allegations.

From the letter:
GRAMMY Award categories have always been based on various genres of music – not on race or ethnicity. People of all different backgrounds and walks of life create MUSIC, and artists are not relegated to making music based on race, background or beliefs. While categories were realigned as part of the awards restructuring, ALL of the genre Fields remain intact. And the GRAMMY Awards still have more categories that recognize musical excellence than any other music award.
– George J. Flanigen IV, Chair, The Recording Academy
– Neil Portnow, President, CEO The Recording Academy

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