- Big names in Latin music like Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Nicky Jam, and others criticized the Latin Grammys for not nominating urbano artists in the show’s main categories.
- While some have said this highlights the Latin Recording Academy’s long-running bias against urban music, others say urbano artists should take some responsibility for the lack of nominations since many are admittedly not registered Latin Grammy voters.
- The Latin Grammy’s responded by inviting the artists to “get involved with the Academy” and its voting process.
Some of today’s most popular Spanish-language artists slammed the Latin Recording Academy this week, pointing to the lack of urbano artists nominated in the main categories of the 2019 Latin Grammys.
The latest nominees were announced on Tuesday, which Academy President and CEO Gabriel Abaroa Jr. described as a “talented and diverse” representation of acts from across Latin America and the Iberian peninsula.
However, many were disappointed to see that several of the biggest urbano artists were excluded from nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year.
The urbano genre essentially encompasses various styles like reggaeton, Latin hip-hop, dancehall, trap, and more. There is no doubt that urbano music has reached a greater audience in recent years with both solo projects and crossover collaborations. In fact, a report on the Grammy’s official website even notes that in 2018, urban Latin music dominated streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. That same year, YouTube released its list of most-viewed videos, with eight of its top 10 being Spanish-language songs.
Critics say the lack of inclusion points to what they call the organization’s longstanding bias against urban music. While the reggaeton industry has voiced their concerns before, they decided to come together and do so much more prominently this year.
Urbano Musicians Speak Out
Artists like Daddy Yankee, J. Balvin, Nicky Jam, and others have taken to social media to share the message: “Sin reggaeton no hay Latin Grammy,” which means “Without reggaeton, there are no Latin Grammys.”
J Balvin did actually earn a nomination for Best Urban Song, while Daddy Yankee scored a nomination for Best Urban Fusion/ Performance, however, the two still think the Academy could do more to honor their peers in major categories.
“Despite being nominated, I don’t agree with the way they treated the genre and a lot of my colleagues,” Daddy Yankee wrote on Instagram in Spanish. “Remember one very important thing: Their platform was not the one that created this movement. This goes beyond a prize. This is culture, credibility, relevance, and RESPECT.”
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A pesar de estar nominado, no estoy de acuerdo de la manera que trataron al género y a mucho de mis colegas. Recuerden una cosa muy importante, su plataforma no fue la que creó este movimiento. Esto va más allá de un premio. Esto es cultura, credibilidad, pertinencia y RESPETO. #sinreggaetonnohaylatingrammy
Karol G, who actually won Best New Artist last year but did not earn a single nomination this year, said, “I want to make my support of [Daddy Yankee’s] words clear, independently from being nominated or not, without offending those who are nominated because it’s a moment they’ve worked hard for and deserve it.”
“I still feel the need to support this movement since it’s the only way to make a call that the academy, in the next few years, be more inclusive with a genre that works, is strong, revolutionizes and represents with big accomplishments for our Latin community across the world.”
Many have also pointed to Ozuna as another example of how urbano success isn’t translating over to the award show. The global megastar was just awarded four Guinness World Records for achievements like most videos to reach one billion views on YouTube and most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. But this year, the artist’s only Latin Grammy nomination was in the Best Urban Song category. Ozuna has not commented or joined in on the urbano movement at this time as he is currently off of Instagram to focus on his upcoming album.
Latin Grammy’s Respond
In response to the social media call outs, the Latin Grammy’s released a statement on Wednesday saying, “The Latin Recording Academy has followed a strict voting process for the past 20 years. The members, through their votes, select what they believe merits a nomination.”
“The Academy has never influenced their decisions, have always honored, and respected their elections, even if there are people who do not agree with the results,” the statement continued.
“Nevertheless, we hear the frustration and discontent. We invite the leaders of the urban community to get involved with the Academy, to get involved with the process, and to get involved with discussions that improve the Academy. At its core, The Latin Recording Academy belongs to its members, from all genres, and our doors are always open. Together we can all make it work. Let’s do it!”
The response hits on a note that some of the Academy’s defenders have also argued. Some say that urbano artists need to take some of the responsibility for the lack of inclusion since many of their biggest stars have admitted they are not registered Latin Grammy voters.
Others say many independent labels and producers don’t understand the process of submitting a product or becoming a voter, however, at this point, it seems that both parties would like to address the issue to improve diversity in the future. Whether or not that actually happens will be interesting to see ahead of next year’s show.
As for now, the Latin Grammy Awards are set to take place on November 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Deadline) (The New York Times)
Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch May Have Abandoned Plans To Participate In TikTok NFT Program
Lil Nas X’s TikTok NFT was scheduled to debut a week ago and is still not available to the public.
Creators Allegedly Leave TikTok’s NFT Program
Musicians Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch may have quietly exited TikTok’s new NFT collection, according to a report from Rolling Stone.
TikTok first announced the line, which is called “TikTok Top Moments,” at the end of September. It involves a series of creator-led NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are unique and tradeable digital assets. TikTok’s NFTs can be purchased with the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to a press release, the money will “largely go directly to the creators and NFT artists involved.”
TikTok said that creators like Poarch, Lil Nas X, Grimes, Curtis Roach, Brittany Broski, and more would be participating in the program. The company called NFTs an “empowerment tool” that will allow these creators to “be recognized and rewarded for their content.” It planned to debut the collection on Oct. 6 with Lil Nas X’s NFT, but that token has still not been made available. A source told Rolling Stone that it may never be released.
NFT Rollout Described as “A Mess”
The outlet also reported that Poarch is “actively contemplating pulling out of the program due to worries about its execution.” According to Rolling Stone, three sources familiar with the rollout of the program have described it as “a challenge,” “a mess,” and “a complete joke.”
Those sources claimed that in order to secure Poarch’s initial participation, TikTok offered her marketing support worth potentially $4 million for her next release. The company also allegedly promised to use one of her songs in an end-of-year campaign. A spokesperson for TikTok, however, described these claims as “not accurate.”
Neither Poarch nor Lil Nas X has commented on their participation yet. Meanwhile, TikTok declined to answer Rolling Stone’s questions about the status of their NFTs.
Some of TikTok’s announced NFTs have gone public, though. Throughout Tuesday, Roach’s “Bored in the House” video was up for auction on the platform Immutable.
NFTs took the internet by storm in early 2021, but their popularity peaked in May and declined throughout the summer. Celebrities, tech moguls, and everyday people featured in viral memes have hopped on the trend and made millions doing so.
According to Rolling Stone, TikTok has valued some of its own NFTs at $1 million. Now, it’s unclear if those tokens will ever hit the market.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Dexerto)
Ariana Grande, Bella Hadid, and Others Honor World Mental Health Day
A slew of stars acknowledged the day by sharing personal stories and making hefty donations to organizations that offer mental health resources.
Celebrities Donate to Mental Health Organizations
Major celebrities honored World Mental Health Day on Sunday by speaking candidly about their mental health struggles and donating to nonprofits.
Singer Ariana Grande announced that she is donating $5 million worth of free therapy through the online counseling platform Better Help. The star previously partnered with the company over the summer to give $1 million in therapy to fans and opted to throw more money at the program following its success.
“I acknowledge that there are very real barriers when it comes to accessing mental health resources, and while this is only one small gesture (and a much larger systemic problem remains) I wanted to do this again with @betterhelp in hopes of bringing access to a few more people and perhaps inspiring a few of you to try something new and prioritize your own healing,” Grande wrote on Instagram.
Those interested can sign up for a free first month of Better Help and get an additional 15% off the second month.
Model Bella Hadid also pledged to donate to mental health resources. She teamed up with the beverage company Kin Euphorics, which will donate 10% of its October sales to Gurls Talk, a nonprofit that gives adolescent girls a space to talk about mental health, along with various educational tools to aid those discussions. Hadid will match those donations.
“Dealing with mental illness for most of my life, bringing awareness to the education of mental health through my platform is something that I will continue to do until our mental is just as respected as our physical,” Hadid wrote. “I want everyone who struggles daily to know that you are not alone.”
Stars Share Resources and Personal Stories
Meanwhile, actress and singer Selena Gomez used her new makeup brand Rare Beauty to share statistics about the prevalence of mental illness and the efforts to combat it. The company, which has previously focused on several mental health initiatives, shared that just 1.3% of philanthropic investments go towards supporting mental health.
The company additionally cited information from an American Psychological Association report, which revealed that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles. It found that seven out of 10 Gen Z adults are more likely to report experiencing depression symptoms compared to other generations.
Gomez shared Rare Beauty’s post to her own story as well.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo similarly opened up about mental health and therapy during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday. In it, she said she has been in therapy since she was 16, which she believes has helped her both personally and professionally.
“That was a really big, life-changing moment,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself.”
“I think there’s sometimes a stigma around it, too, like I was saying,” the singer continued. “Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh, you don’t need that. You have so much. Your life is so great. What are your problems?’ I think that’s definitely a thing that sometimes older people can do to younger people to kind of trivialize what they’re going through.”