NEW YORK (AP) -- A coalition of musicians that has protested the Recording
Academy's decision to drop 31 categories from the Grammy Awards is stepping up
the pressure, calling for a boycott of the Grammys' telecast partner, CBS, and
hiring a lawyer to explore legal action.
"We will ask people to stop watching CBS, boycott their sponsors and then
write them," said Bobby Sanabria, a Grammy-nominated Latin jazz
musician and the leader of the coalition, in an interview Wednesday night.
"We're at a critical juncture."
The group planned a press conference on Thursday to speak about the boycott.
A representative for the Academy didn't return requests for comment.
CBS is scheduled to broadcast the Grammys next February from Los Angeles. The
network declined to comment, a rep said Thursday.
In a surprise move, the Academy announced in April that it was reducing the
number of award categories from 109 to 78. While the changes involve mainstream
categories such as eliminating the male and female divisions in the pop vocal
category to one general field, the Academy also reduced specific categories,
including some of the instrumental categories in pop, rock and country;
traditional gospel; children's spoken-word album; Zydeco or Cajun music album;
best Latin jazz album; and best classical crossover album. Artists in those
categories will now have to compete in more general fields, making the process
Sanabria has claimed the reductions unfairly target ethnic music and called
the Academy's decision racist.
He has also said the Academy made the changes without the knowledge of its
members. However, Grammy President and CEO Neil Portnow has said the changes
were properly implemented after an examination by a committee, then voted on by
a board that represented its members.
Sanabria said the Academy hasn't released minutes from its meetings regarding
He said the Academy can still reverse the cuts if enough members of its board
of trustees decide to act. But in meetings in San Francisco and New York earlier
this month, he said the Academy said the changes would remain in effect at least
for the 2012 Grammys.
"They say, `Well, next year, we'll see how it goes and maybe possibly we can
readmit some of the categories,'" he said. "Again, they obfuscated us, insulted
Attorney Roger Maldonado has been hired by Sanabria to explore legal