Three of the contenders for the ‘Best Children’s Album’ Grammy have turned down their nominations to protest the all-white lineup of nominees.
Alastair Moock, Dog on Fleas and the Okee Dokee Brothers have all asked for their names to be removed from the ballot off the back of the Recording Academy failing to nominate any performers of colour.
The three artists banded together to write a letter to the Academy, which was reposted on Twitter by the Okee Dokee Brothers.
Within the letter, the groups explained their reasons behind wanting their nominations pulled.
“After a week of soul searching, discussions with our black, brown, and white peers, and consultations with our families, we, the undersigned nominees in this category have come to the conclusion that it’s in the best interest of our genre for us to decline our nominations. We respectfully ask that our names be removed from final round ballots,” the letter began.
“We are deeply grateful to the Recording Academy and its voting members for the honour 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 colour, and most especially black performers.”
The letter went on to detail the history of the lack of diversity within the ‘Best Children’s Album’ category, revealing that only about six per cent of nominated acts from the last ten years have been black led.
Meanwhile, as stated in the letter, only about eight per cent were led by non-black people of colour.
“These numbers would be disappointing in any category, but – in a genre whose performers are uniquely tasked with modelling 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,” the artists wrote.
“We take full responsibility for putting ourselves in the position we’re in. We chose to submit and distribute our albums to voters, even as we were aware of this category’s past history of exclusion. We thought that this year – after recent national events, all the hard work of the Family Music Forward racial justice collective to bring attention to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in our genre, and changes within the Academy itself designed to reduce bias – we might see a different outcome. We didn’t, and the results are frankly an embarrassment for the field of children’s music,” they continued.
“We know that declining our nominations runs the risk of centring ourselves even further in this conversation. We’re prepared for that criticism if it means helping to bring attention to the problem. And, in order to make sure this story is told in a well-rounded way and not purely through a white lens, we commit to including black and brown leadership from our genre in any future press interviews that may arise from our nominations or our declining of them.”
“We’re hopeful that our statement today can be a small part of helping to heal some of the pain and anger amongst our peers, and that it will help bring us closer as a community. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we want to be part of the solution. We feel sure that, if we work together in the coming months and years, we can arrive at a better place for children’s music – one that better serves all performers and families,” they concluded.
The two remaining nominees for ‘Best Children’s Album’ are Joanie Leeds and Justin Roberts.
Check out the full letter from three of the nominees for the ‘Best Children’s Album’ Grammy:
Yesterday, we (& 2 other nominees) wrote the pictured letter to the Recording Academy respectfully declining our nominations and asking for our names to be removed from the final round ballot. We haven’t heard back – regardless, we ask voters to please refrain from voting for us. pic.twitter.com/N0vlqX9eSt
— okeedokeebros (@OkeeDokeeBros) December 9, 2020