Three of the five nominees in this year’s GRAMMY Award category for Best Children’s Music Album are passing up the opportunity to win one the world’s biggest music gongs, asking instead for their nominations to be withdrawn in protest over the category’s lack of diversity.
As originally reported by Pitchfork, Alastair Moock & Friends, Dog on Fleas and The Okee Dokee Brothers last month wrote a joint statement to the Recording Academy, expressing their disappointment that all the artists nominated are white, and only one is female.
“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,” they wrote.
“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.”
As pointed out by Billboard, however, it’s unclear whether the Academy will actually honour the artists’ request to not to be nominated.
As of this past Monday, which was the last day of voting, the Academy had not removed the three artists’ names from their online list of nominees.
However, in other ways, this year is still a landmark year for diversity at the GRAMMY’s. For the first time ever, all the artists nominated in the ‘Best Rock Performance’ category are women, while the Academy has officially renamed the ‘Urban Contemporary’ Award category to ‘Progressive R&B Album’ following years of criticism over its perceived generalisation of Black artists.