Well — here’s something you don’t often see.
Three musical acts are protesting the 2021 Grammy Awards.
As it turns out, all five acts nominated for Best Children’s Album are…get ready…white.
That’s not okay with the trio troubadours, so they’re taking a stand: They believe pale people should step down, refusing to be considered for the offensive award.
Over the last few years, we’ve heard similar notes of lament, but something sets apart this year’s triad of trailblazers: The Caucasian composers they’re decrying from their mountaintop of mandate are…
That’s right — Alastair Moock, Dog on Fleas, and the Okee Dokee Brothers are revolting against the nomination of Alastair Moock, Dog on Fleas, and the Okee Dokee Brothers.
They’ve got skin in the game, but they’re not game for that skin getting in.
So they’re out — all three acts have turned down their own nominations.
Three Grammy contenders for best children's album — the Okee Dokee Brothers, Alastair Moock and Dog on Fleas — have turned down their nominations in protest after learning all the nominees in the category are white.https://t.co/jjW5V246GU
— NPR (@NPR) January 4, 2021
Want something wee-uh-duh?
Alastair’s would-be in-the-running record — Be a Pain — centers around historical figures including Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.
Nonetheless, as reported by NPR, he thinks the whole situation’s positively pitch imperfect:
Upon hearing the news he was nominated along with three other white male acts and one white woman, Moock smacked his head. “After this year, to have an all-white slate of nominees seemed really tone-deaf,” he says.
He wouldn’t wanna win this way:
The Boston-based singer-songwriter says he’d love to get a Grammy, “but I don’t want it like this, where the playing field’s not even.”
As for the Okee Dokee Brothers, they’re going directly against their own name.
So to the nomination, here’s what member Joe Mailander had to say:
“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.”
He hopes to see people making children’s music who have darker skin than he:
“This is not just white guys with guitars playing for kids. We want to welcome all different types of music to this community.”
All three acts joined together in a letter to the Recording Academy.
Per the explainer, they just “couldn’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has historically overlooked women and artists of color.”
The way co-Okee Dokee artist Justin Lansing sees it, the children’s music genre’s “tasked with modeling fairness and kindness to kids and families.”
And in all fairness — I’m assuming he believes — he didn’t deserve to be considered.
In December, the artists met with Harvey Mason, Jr. — new interim president and CEO — and the Academy’s first chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Valeisha Butterfield Jones.
Butterfield Jones said the 63-year-old organization’s on the move:
“We’re an organization that’s ready for change, but you know, we’re not unique to the challenges of the world and to the challenges of our industry. I think it’s time. You know, we saw in 2020 a racial reckoning. So now, you know, it’s, you know, up to us what we’re going to do to take real and meaningful action.”
More from NPR:
Butterfield Jones says since she started her job in May, she’s been looking for ways to increase diversity among the academy’s membership and in the Grammy’s secret nominating committees. The academy recently partnered with the racial justice group Color of Change to begin holding itself and record labels more accountable. They’re pushing for more transparency at the academy and support for artists, especially those who are Black.
“We have made a very clear and firm commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a part of our core values,” Butterfield Jones says. “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.”
Family Music Forward, a collective whose mission is to amplify Black voices in children’s music, was also invited last month to the Recording Academy meetings.
Of course, the Grammys is just the latest group of its kind to join the revolution.
As covered by RedState’s Becca Lower in September, the Oscars announced it would require racial/gender/sexual/underrepresentation quotas for all Best Picture nominees.
— Variety (@Variety) September 9, 2020
Back to Dog on Fleas, the Okee Dokees, and Alastair, if only they’d been born different.
If only they’d come into the world a might more melanated, they could’ve won a Grammy.
Instead, they got stuck with that cottonpickin’ cottonlike color.
Like a song, they were conceived; but just by entering the contest of life, they earned that awful award, that terrible trophy for too little tint: a Whammy.
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