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About Latin Grammys

September 23, 2000

Thanks for your excellent coverage of the Latin Grammys. The one sour note was Ernesto Lechner's totally wrongheaded Sept. 12 and Sept. 14 commentaries regarding Luis Miguel.

Lechner is so off-base that it makes me wonder if he really knows anything about Luis Miguel or his music! Luis Miguel's record speaks for itself--he has already earned four Grammys, three World Music Awards, Billboard awards, and countless others during his nearly 20-year career. Performing throughout Latin America, Spain and the U.S., he has shattered attendance records and topped the lists of box-office grosses. His voice, music and achievements are legendary.

So it wasn't surprising that the academy voters acknowledged Luis Miguel's talent and contributions by presenting him with all three awards for which he was nominated. The only thing "shocking" and "simply unforgivable" about the Latin Grammys was Lechner's "grotesque" comments; he's the one who has lost "credibility." Meanwhile, Luis Miguel will continue producing, singing and winning awards for the best music for years to come.

BARBARA MEYER

Ridgefield, Conn.

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While I wholeheartedly applaud the creation of the Latin Grammy Awards, many of us in the African American community are asking: Why can't we have our own ceremony too?

Every year, African American performers, songwriters and producers always complain that our artists or one or more awards are always not televised and relegated to a quick, 15-second voice-over near the end of the show, unfairly ignoring gospel, world music, hip-hop, jazz, blues and R&B performers altogether.

Since the Latin academy obviously had the financial clout and the membership unity to get their awards show on live TV, why can't African American artists unite and pull their considerable creative and financial clout together and demand that NARAS do the same long-deserved honor for them as well?

JANETTE McCLELLAND

Inglewood

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The Latin Grammy Awards concept brings up an important question: Since Grammys have been given separately to the Latin artists, does that mean that when the regular Grammys are awarded, the Latin artists will be automatically excluded from consideration, since they already received their awards in a separate contest?

To me, the concept of the Latin Grammys is racially absurd. Why not then give Grammys separately to the Afro-American, Asian, Polish and Armenian artists? It appears that the Latin Grammys were conjured up only for commercial sponsors to exploit the ethnic emotions of the large market in the Latino population.

RICHARD H. SMITH

Burbank

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As a voting member of the academy, I was both thrilled and disappointed in the Latin Grammys. Some of us who play salsa are Anglos without any command of the Spanish language. Watching Carlos Santana, Celia Cruz and the many others speak to the audience in Spanish left a lot of us "out in the cold."

So if our organization and the Latin academy want to make the music accessible to all, why not add English subtitles for non-Spanish-speaking viewers?

JACK GOLD

Studio City

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