In a bold, but sincere and honest move, Pianist, Educator and Author Mark Levine decides to return his Grammy nominations to NARAS and LARAS, and distances himself from such organizations. Here is his letter to Mr. Neil Portnow.
July 20, 2011
Neil Portnow, President
National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences
3030 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica CA 90404
Dear President Portnow,
I am returning my 2003 Grammy Nomination medal and plaque to NARAS, and my 2010 Latin Grammy Nomination parchment to LARAS. I’m also refusing your offer of a Life Membership. I no longer want to be associated with your organization.
Your actions in delisting the categories that have most contributed to American music have been racist, and go against everything my parents taught me about America.
To quote Frank Sinatra at the original Grammies awards ceremony in 1959: “Remember ladies and gentlemen, it’s about excellence, not popularity.”