Readers React

Debating the lack of diversity among the top Grammy nominees

To the editor: On Saturday, the day before the Grammy Awards show, The Times' front page broke the news that the nominees for the four big categories lacked diversity. This article came several weeks after you published a similar article on the Oscars. ("Grammys 2015: Diversity wins onstage but not in awards arena," Feb. 7)

Is this news based on the facts, or is it an attempt to create a controversy where none exists? The anomaly this year is based on the fact that just two of the 20 nominated artists (10%) are minorities.

There is no greater diversity in entertainment than in the music industry. Our ears are colorblind and enjoy a great song no matter the source. Music broke down racial barriers in the 1950s, long before the rest of society caught up.

There is plenty of injustice in the world that deserves space on your front page. Not this.

Robin Blomquist, Torrance

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To the editor: In J. Cole's rap song "Fire Squad," he singles out Elvis Presley as the white artist who led the way for those who've "snatched" blacks' music. Granted, Presley scored a huge hit with his cover of Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" in 1956, but that was three years after the original recording's release, so he didn't cut into Thornton's sales.

In fact, that era's most infamous music "snatcher" was Pat Boone. He launched his recording career in the 1950s with concurrent cover versions of records cut by such legendary black artists as Little Richard and Fats Domino. Boone's bland covers outpaced sales of the soulful original versions.

Eminent 1950s white pop groups such as the McGuire Sisters, Crew Cuts and Diamonds often covered blacks' records too. But this dubious trend eventually faded, and even reversed, as 1962 saw Ray Charles' covers of country tunes by white artists rule the charts.

Good taste finally prevailed.

Christine Hagel, Orcutt, Calif.

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To the editor: I thought the Grammy Awards were about talent, not race. The term "awards" suggests that they are given to the person who did the best job in each category. But the scolding tone of The Times' article implies racial basis.

Does the NBA hire the best players, or are they prejudiced against whites? How about the NFL?

I long for the day when we see people as just people and we resist the urge to bring race or gender into the mix whenever some group is under- or over-represented.

Bob Harbicht, Arcadia

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To the editor: Have any Polish people been nominated for the Grammys? They're a minority. Viva Poland!

Bernadine Bednarz, Los Angeles

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