Well, this is something you don’t see every day. While most music artists would be pleased with a Grammy Award nomination, three children’s artists have rejected the honor this week in protest of what they consider an awards category that is too white. This week, Alastair Moock, Dogs on Fleas, and the Okee Dokee Brothers traded in their Grammy nominations for Woke Award considerations.
“After this year, to have an all-white slate of nominees seemed really tone-deaf,” Moock said.
Moock told NPR that he would love to someday win a Grammy.
“But I don’t want it like this, where the playing field’s not even,” he said.
The three artists sent a letter to the Recording Academy, officially asking that they be removed from the awards ballots.
“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,” said Joe Mailander of the Okee Dokee Brothers. “This is not just white guys with guitars playing for kids. We want to welcome all different types of music to this community.”
In their letter to the Academy, the artists said they “couldn’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has historically overlooked women and artists of color.”
“All of the musicians interviewed for this story agreed that Pierce Freelon should have been nominated this year for his critically acclaimed album D.a.D., which has elements of hip-hop, jazz, electronic and Afro-Caribbean rhythms,” reports NPR.
Frelon was pleased with the attention. “I just couldn’t think of another example in my memory of white men specifically revoking their privilege in this way.”
Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another, more cynical way, would be to notice that by rejecting their nominations, these artists are getting WAY more press and attention than they would have gotten from the Grammys themselves.
But who knows? Maybe these artists are completely sincere, in which case we merely feel pity for them. The fact is, thousands of recording artists are ignored every single year by the Grammys, and – shock – many of those artists are as white as the pure-driven snow.
Forced diversity isn’t the path to progress; it’s the equivalent of letting your kid win Checkers. That’s not to suggest that the key for black artists is to “get better” – that’s somewhat meaningless when it comes to subjective awards like the Grammys. It’s just to say that making sure that every category includes at least one or two people of color is tokenism of the worst kind.
By the way, there are four rap categories at the Grammys with five or six nominees per category. Best we can tell, there is exactly one white guy in the whole group.
Not everything is discrimination.