“As soon as I was nominated, people that never spoke to me started speaking to me,” Sanabria told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
The four-time nominated, Bronx-born percussionist’s career took off.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Renowned Musician Slams Grammys
Now, he is leading a class action lawsuit against the Recording Academy to ensure other aspiring artists get their big break.
Sanabria is demanding 31 cultural and ethnic categories that were cancelled from the Grammy Awards be reinstated. The Academy reduced its categories in April from 109 to 78.
The Associated Press reports Grammy President and CEO Neil Portnow has said the changes were properly implemented after an examination by a committee, then voted on by a board that represented its members.
Sanabria says the Recording Academy is putting popularity ahead of excellence and turning its back on countless artists.
He calls the organization’s decision racist.
“It’s ridiculous, it’s insidious, it’s disrespectful,” Sanabria said.
He is also calling for a boycott of the network CBS and advertisers.
“Any network that would support an organization that does not represent musical diversity, cultural diversity and really has frankly done something that’s really racist has to be questioned,” Sanabria said.
He claims artists from gospel and blues, to polka and classical are being disenfranchised.
CBS is scheduled to broadcast the awards show next February from Los Angeles.
The network has declined to comment.