Some artists Boycott Latin Grammys

Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mariachi superstar Pepe Aguilar and officials with the largest Latin record label in the United States boycotted the inaugural Latin Grammys on Wednesday to protest what they saw as a bias in favor of big-name performers more familiar to American audiences.

Aguilar and the music label, Fonovisa, argued that there weren't enough popular Mexican styles — like norteno, tejano and ranchera — nominated for the biggest awards or invited to perform.

Guests at the two-hour show criticized attention focused on the dispute.

``Before people talk they should get educated,'' said Emilio Estefan Jr., who is married to singer Gloria Estefan and was nominated for six awards for his work as a producer for various artists, including Ricky Martin. ``I was very disappointed about that. ... I hope these awards will unite people.''

Estefan said that ``only a few people'' had complained about the nominations, which were made in 40 categories. Some 2,600 academy members from 15 countries voted for the nominees in Spanish and Portuguese-language music.

Fonovisa's acts got five of some 200 nominations. Three of them won but the performers did not accept the awards in person.

Mercedes Sosa, who won a Grammy for best folk album, said the show would help introduce a worldwide audience to the breadth and depth of Latin culture.

``For the first time, popular music of Latin America is being recognized,'' Sosa said backstage. ``These prizes are very, very important.''

At the 42nd annual Grammy Awards in February, Latin music was honored in eight categories, including salsa, merengue, Mexican-American performance and tejano.

The Latin Grammys began as an offshoot of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, which produces the Grammys, to capitalize on a growing interest in Latin music. The telecast was to be seen in more than 120 countries.


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