San Francisco, CA -- On Monday, November 7th, 2011 at the San Francisco Executive Arts Commission Meeting the resolution, spearheaded by Commissioner John Calloway was proposed to the board commissioners asking them to issue a formal request to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to immediately reinstate the 31 categories of music genres that were dropped from GRAMMY consideration on April 6, 2011. Members of the community who attended and spoke were musician and previous NARAS governor Sandy Cressman, Recording Artist and 2x GRAMMY Nominee Mark Levine, KPFA Radio Producer Clayton Leander and producer and writer Stephanie Dalton, who presented the public petition that now has over 5,400 signatures.
On Monday, November 16, 2011 the Arts Commission heard from Recording Artist and 5x GRAMMY Nominee John Santos and San Jose Jazz Festival Board President Arturo Riera spoke on the importance of this resolution, where upon the commissioner board unanimously voted to send the resolution to NARAS' National Board Chair George Flanigen, Board Secretary Glenn Lorbecki, and President Neil Portnow.
The resolution will be presented to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and to the San Francisco Mayor's office and there will be a request for the public to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting when announced.
The Resolution Reads:
This resolution to reinstate the 31 categories of music that were dropped by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (NARAS) for GRAMMY consideration on April 6, 2011 supports the music genres that are truly reflective of the contemporary musical landscape and cultural diversity of the United States.
WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco, which maintains a proud tradition as a hub of cultural and musical diversity, is home and host to valuable contributors of the American musical lexicon, including numerous GRAMMY®-nominated and -winning composers, artists and professionals; and
WHEREAS, NARAS, an influential nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization, is based in California and home to 30% of its 20,000+ members, and includes a San Francisco Chapter; and
WHEREAS, the decision to drop the 31 categories from GRAMMY consideration was done by secret committee without consulting the voting membership of NARAS and without local chapters' Board of Governors' knowledge; and
WHEREAS, the eliminated categories include Latin Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Hawaiian, Cajun, Zydeco, Native American, Tejano, Classical Crossover, Instrumental Rock, along with significant reductions in awards given to the categories of Gospel, Blues and R&B; and
WHEREAS, protests and meetings have occurred in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Hawaii, Chicago, New Orleans, and other national locations to resolve this severe and extremely insensitive blow to cultural expression and recognition in our country; and
WHEREAS, respected GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists, including Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, John Santos, John Calloway, Eddie Palmieri, Wayne Wallace, Bobby Sanabria and many others have joined NARAS members, colleagues, and past Chapter governors in writing letters and signing a petition with 5,000 cosigners urging NARAS to reverse their secret decision and reinstate the GRAMMY categories; and
WHEREAS, national and international media coverage (KTVU, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Reuters, BBC, Wall Street Journal, etc.) has been given to the outcry against this unjust and harmful decision in over 1,200 national and international stories published and syndicated in print, broadcast, and digital formats; and
WHEREAS, NARAS has a responsibility to their voting membership to ensure that ethical decision practices are maintained because the GRAMMY is considered to be the highest award achievable for music excellence in the Unites States and therefore should strive to include genres and categories of particular creative and foundational significance; and
WHEREAS, the thousands of affected musicians, engineers, manufacturers, composers, arrangers, graphic artists, publicists, distributors, and other industry professionals who work in the eliminated categories will suffer economically from not being able to participate in the GRAMMY awards; and
WHEREAS, thousands of California consumers and patrons of these important musical traditions have also been negatively affected and disrespected by this ill-advised decision; and
WHEREAS, the NARAS leadership has acknowledged that a “mistake” was made indicates that these genres should never have been eliminated in the first place;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the San Francisco Arts Commission urges the National Academy of Arts and Sciences to immediately reinstate the eliminated categories in order to restore integrity and diversity to the GRAMMY Awards and fulfill the organization's responsibilities to its membership and as a nonprofit organization representing the interests of diverse musicians and recording professionals; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Arts Commission directs its administrative staff to send copies of this resolution to NARAS National Board Chair George Flanigen, Board Secretary Glenn Lorbecki, and President Neil Portnow.
Bluegrass music retains the Best Bluegrass Album award in the American Roots Music field. This is the sole remaining category for bluegrass since the elimination of Best Country Instrumental Performance award. Bluegrass artists were frequently honored in the instrumental category -- especially those who shared their craft with both country and bluegrass genres.