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In a move that is now making the rounds through various entertainment outlets, such as Rolling  Stone, Variety, and NPR, three of the five 2021 Grammy Award Nominees for Best Children’s Album have withdrawn their nominations due to the lack of diversity on the slate. 

On December 9, 2020, Alastair Moock posted a letter on Instagram, signed by all the rescinding nominees, calling out the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for the lack of diversity and saying that they “couldn’t in good conscience benefit from a process that has historically overlooked women and artists of color.”

The letter goes on to say that “In the past 10 years, only about 6% of nominated acts have been Black-led or co-led, another 8% or so have been non-Black-POC-led, and around 30% have been female led. These numbers would be disappointing in any category, but—in a genre whose performers are unique tasked with modeling fairness, kindness, and inclusion; in a country where more than half of all children are non-white; and after a year of national reckoning around race and gender—the numbers are unacceptable.”

He also gave a shout out to Family Music Forward, an organization that is already putting in the hard work and whose mission is “to transform family music by supporting Black artists, children, and communities and dismantling individual, institutional, and systemic racial bias within the industry.”

In our efforts to fulfill FPPL’s mission statement to “maintain and share a collection that meets the needs of our diverse community,” the Youth Services department would like to recognize the efforts of the nominees that have withdrawn and also highlight the wonderful children’s musicians of color that are currently available through our collection as well as Hoopla and Interlibrary loans:

Nominees who withdrew:

Okee Dokee Brothers

Alistair Moock

Dog on Fleas

The only woman nominee, who did not withdraw because she’s trying to bring attention to more women performers:

Joanie Leeds

Youth Services Departments Recommendations for Children’s Musicians of Color:

Aaron Nigel Smith

Ella Jenkins (originally from the South Side of Chicago!)

123 Andrés

Lucky Diaz

Little Miss Ann (local)

Jazzy Ash

Pierce Freelon

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Uncle Devin

Father Goose

Cielito Lindo (local)

Wendy & DB (local)

Local Spotlight: Little Miss Ann

Photo Source: https://littlemissann.com/epk

Local Spotlight: Cielito Lindo

Photo source: http://cielitolindo.co/about/

“As seen on Nickelodeon’s America’s Most Musical Family, WGN, Univision, and Chicago Tonight, Cielito Lindo is a modern Latino mariachi formed by the Lucero family of 9. The children range in age from 7 to 18 and have performed for numerous large events including Bulls games, galas, festivals, and various television programs. With a fresh look & youthful energy, the family performs the traditional music of Mexico and is passionate about sharing their music and culture.”

Local Spotlight: Wendy & DB

Photo source: https://www.wendyanddb.com/press

“Whether a solo performance from our own Wendy Bean to a full band performance with the Jammin’ 3, they bring the music and the energy! 

Wendy & DB are “picking up steam in 2019”! The award-winning Children’s Music Duo will have you and your children singing, dancing and jumping along with their original songs and upbeat lyrics. Each song will encourage imagination and exploration.”

If you’re looking for more suggestions, Chicago Parent wrote this excellent article: 13 BIPOC Musicians For Kids

Also check out WEE Nation Radio, which is created and produced by the Children’s award-winning Drumcussionist, Uncle Devin.