Yet another of this planet's great institutions has been contaminated by a vicious disease. A disease that has been discriminately destroying the hopes of a certain group of citizens for years. The institution is the Grammys. The disease is sexism. And the affected are young men struggling to make it in the brutal music industry.
It's been easy for most people to ignore this disturbing trend, hoping that it would simply vanish with the curbside trash. But with last week's Grammy nominations announced, now is the time to call the awards show on its sexist practices and demand that the wrong be righted. It is time to say to the Grammy people, "Please let a man win the Best New Artist Grammy."
For the past seven years, envelope after envelope has been opened, and new female artist after new female artist has been declared the winner. LeAnn Rimes in 1997; Paula Cole in 1998; Lauryn Hill in 1999; Christina Aguilera in 2000; Shelby Lynne in 2001; Alicia Keys in 2002; and Norah Jones in 2003.
The last "man" to win the award was Hootie and the Blowfish in 1996--a lesser representative of the testicle-bearing sex could not be found.
In the last seven years 25 out of the 35 nominees for the award were women (or bands fronted by women). Yet women only make up a bit more than half of the world's population. Add to that the fact that men dominate management positions in the recording industry, and, well, I think you can see where we're going here. The old men who run the industry are scared of the young men. The suits see the healthy young men as competition and wish to crush them, thereby freeing themselves to eat steaks and potato chips while young sexy female pop stars surround them, dancing and singing.
Well, it ends here. This year's ballot, surprisingly, includes three male acts and two female acts. Chances are good that a man will win the award, but, if the old men have their way, either Evanescence (fronted by the feisty Amy Lee) or Heather Headley will likely walk away with the phonograph-shaped paperweight.
To ensure fair treatment, the public should demand that one of the male artists win. The contenders are all deserving of the title: Sean Paul released the ubiquitous "Get Busy"; 50 Cent delivered the thumping "In da Club"; and Fountains of Wayne, which actually released its first album on Atlantic in 1996, is just plain cool.
So stand up and let your voice be heard, and maybe, if there is anything sacred in the world, 50 Cent will be hangin' in the girl's club next year, chatting up Norah Jones and calling Darius Rucker a weenie.
For the complete list of Grammy nominees, go to www.grammys.com .