Monday, February 9, 2009

Another Grammy Moment

The Grammy Awards were last night. I did not watch. Truth be told, I didn't even know they were on. I knew they were coming up, but that's about it. In general, I'm not a Grammy guy. Much of the current music is not my cup of tea, although "Swagga Like Us" (I watched on YouTube) and the tribute to the Four Tops were pretty cool, I'd have to say. And it was nice to see Robert Plant win a few golden gramophones with Alison Krauss. Zeppelin never won a Grammy while they existed; Alison Krauss has now won 26.

"Grammy Moments", for sure.

Really, though, the biggest moment of the night came shortly after Radiohead's performance, when Neil R. Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, made a direct plea to President Obama to create a cabinet level Secretary of Arts position. This was live, prime time t.v., so it was a big deal. Millions of young and impressionable disciples of Kanye and Jay-Z and the Jonas Brothers saw it. Hopefully a few even followed up on it. There's a lot out there about this subject, to be sure.

"Art Czar" is not a new concept. Most European countries have a Minister of Culture: France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and even Latvia, the cultural powerhouse of the former Eastern bloc. Brazil has one. Canadian provinces have Culture Ministers. The U.S., sadly and typically, does not have anything of the sort. In general, the arts in America has been treated like an unwanted step child. A life in the arts is not really seen as a "legitimate" occupation, and as a result, they are woefully underfunded in schools and communities around the country.

The January 16 issue of Rolling Stone has a very interesting article about Quincy Jones' "decade-long effort to establish a Secretary of Culture post representing arts and the humanities in the Cabinet...". I suggest reading it. Its quick and painless. Quincy had said in a November, 2008, radio interview, "The next conversation I have with President Obama is to beg for a Secretary of Arts." Some folks are clamoring for Quincy, himself, to be named the head of this yet-to-exist position.

As a result, a couple of musicians were inspired by all of this and started a petition taking up this cause. As of this writing, 230,444 people have now signed it. Hopefully, after last night's telecast, that number will increase exponentially.

I have signed it.

Naturally, I encourage YOU to sign the petition too.

So it goes...

No comments:

Post a Comment