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Latinos At The Grammys: Which Awards Could They Win?

The Grammys have announced their nominees, and some are Latino, but in which shortlist are we favorites? These are the Latinos at the Grammys .

Grammys accolade

The expectations are huge. While we wait, we analyze the disposition of Latin American artists. Photo: Grammys

LatinAmerican Post | Gabriela Krause

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Leer en español: Latinos en los Grammy: ¿para qué premios nos eligen?

After the recent celebration of the Latin Grammy Awards, the entire grid of nominees for the 2022 Grammy Awards has just been announced. We are talking about the most important awards in the entire music industry. The ceremony will take place on January 31 in Los Angeles. It is just around the corner and in addition, it will be done again in face-to-face format. The expectations are huge. While we wait, let's look at the chances of  Latin American artists.

Exclusive prizes to include identities

For women, women's awards. For Latinos, Latino awards. Should it be this way?

We are in a time when many injustices are debated. Among them, all those related to exclusion and all the struggles for the emancipation of identities that do not fit with the status-quo. In all this transforming maelstrom, the truth is that industries see an opportunity, so they propose prizes, products, and contests for minorities in order to capture new markets. When we see those things, sometimes, we rejoice because we are included. But what does that inclusion imply?

The Grammy Awards are awards organized by the United States Recording Academy. In other words, it is expected that most of the names on the grids are American. But there are also Latinos. There are always Latinos. The point is that, in reality, it is difficult to find them until you reach the category that corresponds to them, “Latin”.

Read also: Emerging Latino Artists You Should Know For Lollapalooza 2022

In what categories do Latin American artists stand out?

In many awards, such as best album, best pop album, alternative, rock, and others, you do not see Latin American names. Once we get to this category, we run into familiar names: Camilo, Ricardo Arjona, Pablo Alborán, Selena Gómez, Alex Cuba and Paula Arenas in the category of best Latin pop album . If we keep looking at the grid, in the category of "best urban music album" all the names are also Latin. It is curious that this category is part of the Latin Grammy, considering that urban music is recorded all over the world. 

In all the other Latin awards, of course, the nominees are musicians from different countries in our region, very prolific in their musical genres, such as Natalia Lafourcade or Mon Laferte. There are few cases of awards for Latino artists from outside of America. The most prominent is the case of C. Tangana, with his album El Madrileño. In almost all cases, the titles of the winning songs or albums are in Spanish, although this is not the case in the category of “Best Latin Jazz Album”.

It is curious that there are no Latino nominees for the rap category, a genre that is prolific and on the rise in the region. It was not even nominated as a separate award, as in the case of jazz.

Yes, there is a nominee for Best Children's Music Album. Actívate, from 1, 2, 3 Andrés. It is remarkable, for being nominated in a non-Latin category and with an album titled in Spanish.  This also happens with the award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or Acapella, where the Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are nominated.

American roots

From which America are the American roots? It is not news that, hegemonically, when you talk about America, you are actually talking about the United States. We see it all the time: in cinema, in literature, in the media, in political speeches. In the categories of American Roots - and there are several - there are only songs in English, by American groups, duos and soloists. It is worth asking, for them, does Latin America have no roots?

General categories for artists from all over the world?

In 2021, Kali Uchis won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, for her album "10%" in collaboration with Kaytranada, and became the first Latin artist to win a Grammy Award in non-Latin categories.

For the 92nd edition of the Oscar Awards, in 2020, the most relevant award in the film industry, the Academy nominated and awarded Parasite, a South Korean film that has changed the parameters of an award in which foreign films were always destined for their own category as the only possible option. Parasite was a resounding success: it won Best Picture, Best Director, Foreign Film and Original Screenplay. Although it was not the first foreign film to be nominated for these categories, it was the second to be awarded. Two foreign films awarded with the legitimacy of an American in… 92 years! An anomaly, or a rising trend?

It costs a lot to find other cases of similar sizes. While it is true that it gives the feeling that the Academies are seeking to adapt to the times of change prevailing throughout the world, it is also true that they are simply the owners of deciding who to reward and under what concept. We are cornered, tagged and condemned, in a way, to a lower ceiling than theirs, but is this so? There is something emancipatory about understanding that we do not need the validation of an industry that does not belong to us to do what we do. But, of course, this is an ideal. The rules of the game have been written long ago.