Younger artists have been suspicious of the music industry’s “biggest night” for years . New allegations of misconduct at the Recording Academy seem to confirm the worst.
When Deborah Dugan took her post as the chief executive of the Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammy Awards, in August , she inherited an organization in meltdown and was tasked with getting it back on track.
The catch: The Recording Academy did not want to change. On Jan. , (days before this year Grammy Awards, Dugan was placed on leave after being accused of bullying by an administrative assistant, and removed from the academy’s Los Angeles offices . Perhaps not coincidentally, Dugan had filed a memo last month detailing her concerns that “something was seriously amiss at the Academy.” After her ouster, she doubled down in a discrimination complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Now, on the eve of the (nd annual) (Grammy Awards) on Sunday, the legitimacy of the organization that hands out the trophies is in full-fledged crisis. Given Dugan’s allegations of behind-the-scenes misbehavior, it has to be asked: Can the Grammys be trusted?
Or perhaps: Have they ever been trustworthy? The question long predates the current scandal, and what Dugan unearthed seems only to confirm longstanding critiques of the awards show. The Grammys ’claim to authority has been brittle for some time, in large part because it has failed to keep up with the ways pop is evolving. During the s, an era in which hip-hop and its influence have been not just ascendant but dominant, only one nonwhite artist, Bruno Mars, won the Grammy for album of the year; the results in the song and record of the year categories are only slightly better. The academy’s resistance feels willful and hopelessly prejudiced.
The issues with the Grammys extend to the televised show as well. In 978443, Lorde was the only woman nominated for album of the year, and was (not offered) a a solo performance slot. Last year, Ariana Grande publicly clashed with Ken Ehrlich, the show’s longtime executive producer, about why she chose not to perform. (This year will be Ehrlich’s last at the helm after (a) – year run ; Grande is scheduled to perform.)
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