Of the 2021 Grammy Award nominees for Best Children’s Music Album, three are asking the Recording Academy to rescind their nominations.
“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,” wrote Alastair Moock & Friends, the Okee Dokee Brothers, as well as Dog on Fleas.
The musicians believe it is “not an aberration” that all of the 2021 nominees are white and only one nominee is female (Joanie Leeds). The letter reads:
“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.”
Joanie Leeds along with fellow nominee, Justin Roberts did not sign the letter. But when reached by a Pitchfork, a representative for Leeds shared the following statement:
“I don’t think it comes as a surprise to those who listened to All the Ladies why I made the decision to remain on the GRAMMY®️ ballot. After many conversations with Family Music Forward members and my fellow male nominees, it was collectively determined that removing it from the ballot would be counter to the message of my album and my goal for gender equality and inclusion of women in the music industry.”
“While I stand in complete solidarity with the goals of FMF, as a woman, receiving a GRAMMY®️ nomination for the first time is a feat. It’s also not just MY nomination. I share this with 20 other women including a female Latina producer and many females in the BIPOC community.”
“I appreciate everyone’s private messages of support. It has meant the world to have you all by my side during this unprecedented week of deliberation with my fellow nominees. Admittedly, there has been very little celebration and a lot of behind the scenes action to make real change.”
“My hope is that the talent and the message of the album remain a strong focus and that you’ll join me in the essential conversation of gender inequality and the hugely important fight for the BIPOC community.”
A representative gave the following statement from Justin Roberts to Pitchfork:
“I stand with those seeking change and am very aware of the struggles that our genre faces. Some of my fellow nominees have chosen to decline their nominations in order to draw attention to the issues of fairness and representation in the world of children’s music, and I support them in following their hearts and making this powerful statement.”
“Although we may have different methods, we are all committed to the same goal: making systematic changes to ensure that diverse, high-quality music is celebrated, available to all, and that it reflects the diversity of all children. I have chosen to work with the Recording Academy, the BMC, and elected leaders who are passionate about transformation. I will continue to be an agent of solution and change. My hope is that the children’s music community can remain united and push forward to achieve real and systematic change together.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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