Yesterday morning in Los Angeles a press conference was held by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). After the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), producer of the Grammy awards and essentially the Dean Vernon Wormer in the "Animal House" that is the music industry, decided to cut our indigenous category as well as Latin Jazz, Native, Hawaiian, Mexican Regional, Polk, Contemporary Blues and more. 31 categories in all were eliminated from their own considerations. These genres were rounded up and forced into the Roots Music camp.

Now the AFM is striking back.

A petition has formed at GrammyWatch.org to reinstate the categories. Here is the AMF argument, in a nutshell: How can you lump so many different genres reflecting so many indigenous people, styles, histories and regions into one category? How can someone listen to Cedric Watson and compare his work to Hawaiian singer Auntie Geri Huhia to any degree of authentic comparative basis?

The NARAS argument is that with so little competition in each category, why keep the categories separate? Why not make it more of a competition if each entry is so strong on its own?

So far AMF has Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and as of the morning of this writing Bill Cosby on its side that the categories should be reinstated. Other notables are signing on every day.

What do you think? If you support the petition, click here to sign it. If you don’t, feel free to leave a comment below.

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