Campbell's Commentary THE GRUMBLE AT THE GRAMMYS
By Aubrey Campbell
NEW YORK, NY. January 27, 2020 – Greetings all massive and crew! By the time you get to read this missive, the curtain would have come down on the Grammy Awards, offering what should amount to a ringing endorsement of the work done by the purveyors of our popular culture!
But, alas. All that glitter and glamour can no longer be taken at face value, if you believe any of the rancor which greeted this year’s ceremony, thanks in large measure to a larger than life Deborah Dugan, the embattled CEO, who decided that she has seen and endured enough of the bullshit that passes for fair play.
So now we know that what we have been hearing was no false alarm, just that it could not be substantiated beyond a shadow of a doubt. Well now we know, and it’s unfortunate.
We will just have to grin and bear it. Whoever wins the award, so be it with hearty congratulations!
What is even more interesting is that just when the reggae industry seems to be getting its act together by paying more attention to the fine print, in the nomination process, the bottom fell out!
I don’t know but I have to believe what I am hearing that the process, up to this point, was ‘ripe with corruption’, according to published reports.
Our artistes have been saying this for a very long time and the push back they got amounted to a case of ‘sour grapes’.
Their tireless body of work, oftentimes topping many charts around the world, was not even given the light of day, by a committee we thought was so in sync with the rhythm of the time, only to be told now that the coveted award went to the highest bidder in the lofty ‘pay to play’ scheme.
Allegations of ‘secret (nominating) committees, an industry lacking diversity and members pushing artistes and albums for whom they have relationships and from which they stand to benefit, financially, cannot now be dismissed as ‘misleading’.
Reggae artists, without looking over their shoulders, know what this means. They can relate, they can ride that rhythm, ‘like a lizard pon a limb’.
Late last year when news reports surfaced that over 100 reggae entries were sent in for consideration, folks were of the view that such a scenario was nothing short of overload, in comparison to previous years, of course.
And persons with whom I spoke on my weekly radio show, pointed to a new and more engaged approach to the music, after UNESCO upheld a petition from the government, confirming the origin of the genre and going as far as to declare it, an intangible, cultural treasure!
You see, the internationalization of the genre was moving it in the direction of ‘questionable origin’.
Reacting to this most recent grumble at the Grammy, Sharon Gordon, who knows a thing or three, about the music – and not because she is related to Uncle Beres (Hammond) – thinks that it’s time for that bunch of old, white men to step down. “They are out of touch with reality,” she noted.
With the fate of Dugan seemingly hanging in the balance, Sharon, her coalition and so many others will be hoping for real change in their efforts to preserve the music, the genre and the popular culture of a people, destined for greatness!
Congrats to Koffe on winning the 2020 Grammy for Best Reggae Album.