Forum to host kudofest, safety of attendees an issue
MIAMI — The Latin Grammys are ditching Miami and going back to Los Angeles after organizers decided Cuban-exile protests would pose too great a security threat.
Recording Academy president-CEO Michael Greene said the kudofest will be held on its scheduled date, Sept. 11, but at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood.
The city of Miami altered last week the security perimeter around the American Airlines Arena that had been agreed upon by the academy and the city two months ago.
“We then learned that more than 100 Cuban-American groups now would be allowed to demonstrate in a high-traffic area for Grammy activities,” Greene said, “potentially putting our guests at serious risk. Further, the academy was made aware that protesters had secured tickets to the show and were organizing a disruption to the live telecast itself.”
L.A. hosted the first Latin Grammys last year. Miami had lost out on the inaugural show in part because a local ordinance, later ruled unconstitutional, barred Cuban nationals from performing at the American Airlines Arena, the Grammys’ favored venue.
Local politicos lobbied hard to bring the show to Miami, and losing it is a huge black eye to its cultivated reputation as a capital of Latin music. Greene said the economic benefit to the city would be $35 million. Arrangements were apparently proceeding until just a few days ago when the city approved a two-block protest area, part of which is just a half block from the arena entrance.
Noting that many of the expected 7,000 attendees would still have to walk past the protesters, Greene opted out. “I can’t guarantee the security of our people,” he said. “Having to run that gauntlet is demeaning at best.”
Eye backs decision
A spokesman for CBS, which will air the kudocast, said, “We support NARAS’ decision to do what they believe is in the best interest of the performers, the guests and the event itself. And we are confident that Los Angeles will once again be an outstanding host to this exciting showcase for the best in Latin music.”
The Latin Grammys considered moving the show to the National Car Rental Center in nearby Broward County, but that idea was rejected because police there could not guarantee safety either, Greene said.
“We will begin work immediately to try and resolve these issues and bring the Latin Grammys to Miami in the near future,” Greene noted.
(Josef Adalian in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)