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Alleged Secret Grammys Committee Sabotages Black Nominees, Says Village People Singer

victor willis grammys letter
Eric McCandless, Getty Images

UPDATE: A spokesperson for The Recording Academy issued a statement to PopCrush via email:

The Recording Academy has always been completely upfront and transparent about the fact that we have had Nominations Review Committees since 1989, which are made up of GRAMMY voting members. These committees have absolutely no say over the final ballot and do not determine the actual GRAMMY winners. The full 13,000 voting members of The Recording Academy chose the GRAMMY winner for Album Of The Year, as the result of a democratic, one-person, one-vote system. The committees were introduced in the first place to help level the playing field and provide independent, emerging and lesser known artists with greater opportunities for inclusion. The reason that the committee members’ names are not disclosed is to ensure fairness and neutrality. If their identities were made public, they could be lobbied. This is a safeguard to protect the integrity of the process.

ORIGINAL POST: Adele‘s recent Album of the Year win at the 2017 Grammys caused an uproar all across social media, as many viewers felt the award should have gone to Beyonce, whose 2016 album Lemonade was not only a critical and commercial success, but seemingly a shoe-in for the awards show’s most prestigious win. But according to a letter written by Victor Willis, the lead singer of the Village People, a secret Grammys committee exists to override the Album of the Year winner, should academy members ultimately vote for a black artist.

Willis sent the letter, which was obtained by TMZ, to the President of the Recording Academy in an attempt to get him to admit to the committee’s existence, which he claims has the power to veto the majority vote:

I’m concerned that you are not being entirely candid about how the Grammy’s Album of the Year is decided. As you are already aware, the Grammys have a special committee to over-ride the voters. This committee was put in place after Lionel Richie’s album Can’t Slow Down won the 1985 Grammys Album of the Year over Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. Certain people (mostly white) were very upset about this and thought Springsteen should have won.

Willis further claims the “select committee” ultimately decides who wins the Grammys most prestigious award, hinting that the lack of diversity on the alleged committee results in black nominees being unjustly snubbed:

Therefore, it seems you’re not being entirely candid when you suggest that Album of the Year is decided by Grammy voters, so, if we want more black awardees, join the Academy and vote. The truth of the matter is, Album of the Year as with a few other categories is manipulated by the Grammys through this select committee and you know it. Simply put, if certain people at the Grammys don’t like who the voters have chosen, a Grammy committee will simply override the voters and subsequently select who they think should win. Like Adele, maybe?

TMZ further reports they found evidence a secret committee does exist, but it was reportedly implemented to prevent “embarrassing nominations — like, say, Milli Vanilli,” and that the voters ultimately decide who wins.

Head over to TMZ to read Willis’s letter in full.

Some Like It Pop: The 2017 Grammys

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