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©WENN / India.Arie
© WENN / India.Arie
India.Arie criticizes Grammy Awards ceremony for lack of diversity


R&B singer India.Arie has posted an open letter online criticizing Grammy Awards bosses for the lack of diversity during Sunday's telecast.

The "Brown Skin" hitmaker took to her Tumblr on Monday to express her dismay over claims the ceremony 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.

More: Grammy fashion hits and misses | Complete Grammy coverage

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 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 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."

"Speaking of diversity, congratulations to my PERSONAL favorite albums of the year -  @I_GregoryPorter #LiquidSpirit @Realsnarkypuppy and @lalahhathaway on your win and THANK YOU! @pharrell for acting RIGHT in the presence of the greatness that is @Nilerodgers and #StevieWonder."

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 with Madonna and Queen Latifah, 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."

Jan 29, 2014 6:51PM
As a musician, I agree with India Arie. The Grammys is a popularity contest. It is the 21st Century version of the Roman Gladiator Games. The quality of production, songwriting and singing is some of the worst that I have seen and heard. Who of the CURRENT, young A List artists have the class, artistry or professionalism of a Luther Vandross, a Patti LaBelle, a Chaka Khan, an Eric Benet, an Angela Johnson( my bad, you probably never heard of her, y'all need to get out more), a Prince, a Michael Jackson, a Phyllis Hyman, a Gary Taylor( oh y'all never heard of him either, WOW!!!)a Bonnie Raiit, a K.D. Lang or a Tony Bennett. Answer, NONE!!!!! Justin Timberlake? Justin Beiber? Alicia Keys? Robin Thicke? Adele? Rihanna?Beyonce? Katy Perry?  I DON'T THINK SO!!! None of them could touch Peabo Bryson or Jennifer Hudson with a 50 foot pole as far as "pure" talent, without the dancers,  the pyrotechnics and the elaborate sets. If they were left to just sing the damn song, Sandman from the Apollo Amateur Night would have a field day.
Jan 29, 2014 12:09PM
I guess it doesn't matter what the so-called unsocificisicated masses think,does it? If people didn' t care to watch,listen,buy or download the music,I suppose that the taxpayer would likely be supporting these people and their offspring.The Oscars are what she sees the Grammys being-who cares about what the end consumer thinks? This is one of the reasons(besides the lossof glamour and class) the average person cares less about the Oscars now than years ago.And she wants the Grammys to go the same way?
Jan 29, 2014 8:09AM
I meant to add:  If I am not mistaken I saw Jay Z, Pharrell with Nile Rogers & Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Gary Clark, Jr perform.  By the way, wasn't the host LL Cool J?  I have no idea what ethnicity Daft Punk is, but I think Get Lucky is a great song!  I fail to see how they were under-represented.  I do kind of wonder how Macklemore won.....just my opinion. 
Jan 29, 2014 8:05AM
Wait - did India.Arie have a song make it to radio last year?  I have only heard one of her songs ever.  I liked it but heard nothing else from the artist and thought she either didn't make it big here or was a one hit wonder.  I guess Bey, Jay Z, and Stevie Wonder don't have black enough skin for her.  By her standards, non-black artists should be offended that the BET awards are predominately black.

Jan 29, 2014 7:56AM
Did I watch a different show than India Arie? 
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