In what is surely an unprecedented moment for the Grammy Awards Best Children’s Album category, three of the five 2021 nominees are asking the Recording Academy to rescind their nominations.
“We are deeply grateful to the Recording Academy and its voting members for the honor we’ve received, but we can’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has — both this year and historically — so overlooked women, performers of colors, and most especially Black performers,” wrote Alastair Moock & Friends, the Okee Dokee Brothers, and Dog on Fleas in a long social media post. The news was first reported by Pitchfork.
Although approximately half of the award’s winners since 2012 are women — Lisa Loeb, Lucy Kalantari, Neela Vaswani and Jennifer Gasoi — the musicians say that it is “not an aberration” that all of the 2021 nominees are white and only one nominee is female, Joanie Leeds, although she and nominee Justin Roberts did not sign the letter. It reads:
“In the past 10 years, only about 6% of nominated acts have been Black-led or co-led, another 8% or so have been non-Black-POC-led, and around 30% have been female led. These numbers would be disappointing in any category, but—in a genre whose performers are unique tasked with modeling fairness, kindness, and inclusion; in a country where more than half of all children are non-white; and after a year of national reckoning around race and gender—the numbers are unacceptable.”
Through a spokesperson, Leeds gave Pitchfork the following statement:
“I don’t think it comes as a surprise to those who listened to All the Ladies why I made the decision to remain on the GRAMMY®️ ballot. After many conversations with Family Music Forward members and my fellow male nominees, it was collectively determined that removing it from the ballot would be counter to the message of my album and my goal for gender equality and inclusion of women in the music industry.
“While I stand in complete solidarity with the goals of FMF, as a woman, receiving a GRAMMY®️ nomination for the first time is a feat. It’s also not just MY nomination. I share this with 20 other women including a female Latina producer and many females in the BIPOC community. I appreciate everyone’s private messages of support. It has meant the world to have you all by my side during this unprecedented week of deliberation with my fellow nominees. Admittedly, there has been very little celebration and a lot of behind the scenes action to make real change.”
In response, Recording Academy Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer Valeisha Butterfield Jones gave the following statement to Variety:
“Fostering more opportunities for women and people of color in the music community is one of the Recording Academy’s most urgent priorities. In launching the Black Music Collective and partnering with Color of Change, among other initiatives, we have been making progress and still have work left to do. The slate of nominees for this year’s Grammy Awards are among the most diverse and we will continue to push for even greater inclusion and representation. We have met with Family Music Forward and others to reaffirm our commitment to drive necessary change. We are confident that together our industry can keep moving forward.”