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India.Arie criticises Grammy Awards ceremony for lack of diversity

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Jan 28, 2014 | 3:44pm EST

R&B singer India.Arie has posted an open letter online criticising Grammy Awards bosses for the lack of diversity during Sunday's (26Jan14) telecast. The Brown Skin hitmaker took to Tumblr.com on Monday (27Jan14) to express her dismay over claims the prizegiving is becoming more of a "popularity contest" instead of focusing on the music itself, and she has called for the voting system of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences event to be revamped. She was also disappointed not to see more African American performers and winners take the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during the three-and-a-half hour-long ceremony. In her lengthy message, she wrote, "Though it's called 'Music industries biggest night' the Grammys are NOT about the music, it's a popularity contest. The voting process allows people, to vote on name recognition alone... If the hip hop community voted on hip hop - r&b COMMUNITY the same - same for each category - we'd see winners that reflect the MUSIC ITSELF. We all know that's just not the way it goes. NOW the BIGGER losers, are ALL of black music. Where was the black music community represented in last nights (sic) Grammy show? Performers and Winners (or not)... Where were the black artists? And this isn't the first time the Grammy's has had a show all but excluding young black America and black artists in general, although we set the worlds (sic) musical trends. Why NOT televise the lifetime achievement awards of the Isley Brothers? SURELY they deserved to be on televised stage LAST NIGHT! While other artists were on stage TWICE?" She continued, "The truth is in a perfect world diversity would matter, and respect would be rampant, but the TRUTH is, The Grammys is a television show, and in THAT world ratings reign supreme. So, in general, bigger names take the stage... It's unfortunate. I don't even get surprised any more, but, it still hits my sense of fairness, because I KNOW many of the artists who are overlooked. I LIVE in that world. We keep showing up and subjecting ourselves to the game, hoping MAYBE we'll win. I was so HAPPY to see @Kendricklamar take that stage - because it is a FORM of winning, at LEAST, he was SEEN." Rap newcomer Kendrick Lamar, a seven-time nominee who walked away empty-handed, performed with Imagine Dragons, while others on the show line-up included Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Madonna, Katy Perry and hip-hop star Juicy J, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce and Jay Z, who opened the show with a sexy rendition of their new single, Drunk In Love.

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