In these days, I came across an article written by Leila Cobo, Billboard's Executive Director for Latin Content and Programming, questioning the lack of Latin artists at the Grammy Awards. According to her, the Grammy Awards are sort of disconnected from reality. "Hispanics are the largest minority in the country, and growing. Combine that with their increasing presence and influence on pop culture, and it makes a Latin absence on the Grammys anachronistic and simply not savvy from a business and ratings standpoint," argued Cobo.
Coincidentally, The Recording Academy has just answered Cobo's criticism by adding Colombian superstar Juanes to the list of performers who will take the stage this coming Sunday at the 55th Grammy Awards. The Latin music industry is probably happy about that. However, there are still several things left regarding the connection that exists today between Latin music and award-related events such as the Latin editions organized by The Recording Academy and Billboard.
Some of the reactions to Leila Cobo's article were quite challenging. A user, for example, stated that "what is popular on Latin radio stations in the US does not represent the best of Latin music." The same person added that he would not feel proud seeing Don Omar or Gerardo Ortiz representing Latin music as a whole. Similarly, a different user highlighted the lack of popularity of the Latin Grammys outside the US. Some people also said that Regional Mexican music, which is pretty much unknown in several countries throughout Latin America, receives excessive coverage in all these Latin award ceremonies.
Leila Cobo has questioned the Grammys for not being able to acknowledge the current social and cultural landscape in the US especially as it relates to Hispanics. Would it be fair to question shows like the Latin Grammy Awards and the Billboard Latin Music Awards for not being able to acknowledge the taste of audiences outside the US? We know these kinds of events are based on rankings and ratings that are elaborated inside the US. However, is that a good thing for Latin music?
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