Sunday night’s Grammys caused an uproar for a variety of reasons…and none of them good. There’s the debate about the awards themselves (which, frankly, is a matter of opinion), but there’s a more salient issue at hand: the white-washing of the awards ceremony.
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Where do we begin? First, let’s address the issue of the utter lack of Hispanics on the show…except those, of course, that were “safe.” Pitbull is quite fine to be your presenter, so long as he sings that catchy little NBA ditty. But we didn’t see neither hide nor hair of him during his “Calle Ocho” days, now, did we? Mr. Armando Perez was a LITTLE too “Spanish-y” (you don’t want to know what White America would REALLY say behind closed doors, do you?) when he was Lil’Jon‘s protege.
Likewise, Juanes was due to give a tribute to Bruce Springsteen…but was reduced to performing just the first minute of Elton John‘s “Your Song” (in defense of NARAS, his “Spanglish” version of the Taupin/John classic was a powerful version, indeed). Can’t have that Pinko Commie Liberal message of the pro-working man, pro-union, anti-Republican Springsteen coming through the living rooms of Middle America…less thinking! Less revolution! More soft rock! More Wal-Marts, dammit, MORE WAL-MARTS!
Then we need to address the issue of the not-so-subtle message when it concerns our African-American brothers & sisters: be “safe,” or be snubbed. LL Cool J is great to host as long as he’s playing the sanitized version of his “NCIS” character…but rapping alongside Chuck D? Cut to the Delta Airlines ad, folks! Hurry up, before they do the tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan! (That’s a classic Grammy reference, for those too young to remember…)
This isn’t the first time that NARAS snubbed Public Enemy: beginning in 1988, when the first Best Rap Grammy was handed out, NARAS snubbed Public Enemy THREE YEARS IN A ROW. The first time, they lost to — wait for it — YOUNG M.C. Yes, folks…according to NARAS, “Bust a Move” is a far superior song to “Fight the Power.” I’ll let you make your own jokes…
But that aforementioned snub should have sent the mention to you back in 1988: if you’re a person of color, either be “safe” (or effeminate), or be snubbed. White America has no intentions of soiling their lily-white sons & daughters (ESPECIALLY their daughters…) with that “other” music. And if you don’t believe me, reference that disgustingly-emo “rock” band Fun. (For the record, there is nothing “rock” about Fun. NOTHING. This is coming from a woman who spent 10 years in the rock’n'roll trenches with legends…Fun. makes Foreigner look like Slayer. I know of what I speak…) Those ungrateful gits refused to thank Janelle Monae not once, but TWICE, even though she not only sang on, but co-wrote, the very song that got them gracing (undeservedly) the national Grammy stage.
So they can tap into Black culture when it suits them (that is, when it helps get them on the radio, or — in this case — on the Grammy stage), but to actually acknowledge “the Help”? Surely, you jest. They’re all White, though, so it’s all right.
Shades of Hattie McDaniel & Dorothy Dandridge abound…except this is 2013. “Post-racial” America. Barack Obama is President. Racism? What’s that? As a matter of fact…it’s WHITEY that’s got it rough these days! After all, there’s no White History Month…(insert eye roll & definition of “white privilege” here). Enjoy your extra helping of “Crest of the Knave,” kids! (That’s a Jethro Tull reference, for those of you too young to remember…)
Think about the message this is all sending to you, in both subtle and direct ways. Wake up.