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Musicians to Protest Grammy Category Cuts Outside Staples Center

Bruno Mars
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

While Bruno Mars, Adele, Katy Perry and the rest of the world’s most popular performers celebrate their success inside the Staples Center on Sunday night at the 2012 Grammy Awards, another group of musicians plans to protest outside the arena to express their displeasure at the Recording Academy’s decision to eliminate 31 categories.

The group believes the slashed categories disproportionately affect ethnic music genres like Latin Jazz, Native American, Hawaiian, and Cajun, and they want to see the Academy return to the format used in previous years. Paul Simon and Herbie Hancock were among the Grammy winners who spoke out against the category cuts when they were announced in April, though it should be noted that neither has been linked to this particular protest.

Some of the protestors will hold their own concert later that night at a Los Angeles club. Latin jazz artist Bobby Matos said, “We are holding this concert to remind music fans about all the great music that has been eliminated from the Grammys. To paraphrase what Frank Sinatra said at the first Grammy Awards in 1959, ‘Remember, the awards are about excellence, not popularity.'”

The Grammys announced their decision to restructure as part of an effort to ensure that winning an award remains a rare honor. In July, a group announced plans to call for a boycott of the show, but that effort never got any traction. The Academy argues that all of the eliminated awards have merely been folded into other categories.

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