So So Def Founder Jermaine Dupri encourages artists to become NARAS members, while The Hollywood Reporter fields responses from other experts.
The 53rd annual Grammy Awards took place February 13, but 10 days later, artists and executives are still weighing in on the winners and losers. After Steve Stoute’s $40,000 advertorial in the New York Times, So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri offered some opinions of his own. Unlike many others who have weighed in on the subject, Dupri served as a member of Atlanta’s Grammy board and had a direct influence on which artists took home awards.
“I was the youngest person in the room; not that being old has anything to do with it,” Dupri said via his Global14 blog. “Not only was I the youngest person in the room, but I was the only valid Hip Hop person in the room.”
Dupri added that R&B producer James “Jimmy Jam” Harris was one of the only other members with knowledge of urban music. And while Dupri quit NARAS in 2004 to protest the uproar over his then girlfriend Janet Jackson’s Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, he says other artists need to get involved in the process.
“We are not on the board as young executives,” Dupri added. “We have so many young, black executives that claim they’re executives, and say they do this. But they’re not out here doing the work. It should be more people like Steve Stoute on that board.”
In a round table discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Tommy Boy founder, Tom Silverman, echoed Dupri’s statements.
“Due to the nature of the voting body, there are voting blocks such as Country, Jazz, Rock, Classical and Urban,” Silverman explained. “These voting blocks vote as you would expect them to, for what they can relate to. Country is one of the more organized genres and have one of the largest voting blocks. The Urban voting block is probably one of the smaller ones.”