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The NOT THOSE AWARDS Latin All Star Jam

A lot of us had something better to do on a Sunday evening in the Land of 1000 Dances instead of watching the Grammys

By Frankie Firme Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: February 14, 2012


The NOT THOSE AWARDS Latin All Star Jam


In this world, there is nothing so repulsive and unforgivable than to be a witness and victim of a double standard.

I've witnessed double standards and preferential treatment for white people over people of color in many American institutions in my lifetime...I seen it in schools and college, in the military, in the workplace, public service, in our court system of laws, on TV, in movies, and in our political and financial institutions.

It sucks, and it ain't fair...know what mean ? Most white folks in America will never get this....those that do are embarrassed for their light-skinned brethren, and I thank & respect them for that.

Seems the only place in life where the playing field was (almost) on an equal level was in a combat zone, a sports field, the streets, and in the music world...where outright strength and talent openly displayed could not be taken out of context, denied, bullied aside, or have a political spin put upon it to influence the outcome of things...the obvious is what it is...

Well, recently, another institution fell victim to racial posturing and artificial turf laying ..the Annual GRAMMY AWARDS, put on by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science, once a respected and revered American Art institutions, now reduced to just another 99 cents store among American institution "markets", easily bought off and franchised.

I mean, somebody was so intimidated and threatened by true talent of color (like 98% of white guys trying to get into the professional basketball or soccer world) that they minimized the music talent and competition to mediocre levels by eliminating 31 categories (mostly ethnic), to where some artists, who probably wouldn't have passed the first audition of American Idol had it not been for the music, lights, dancers, and visual effects, were proclaimed "winners".

(Insiders at this car wash show were quick to point this out to LatinoLA)

Don't know what Sam Rubin of Channel 5 News was paying more attention to, the girls dancing on stage, or the performances of music. I had to change the channel of my favorite morning news as he kept foolishly babbling on non-stop on how the Grammys "Showcased the best of the best of American Music today".

C'mon, Sam! ...where have YOU been, bro? Not many places in real music, buddy. You don't get out much among real people, do you?...talk about biased and limited tastes!

Well...except for the few token Latinos and Blacks strategically placed in the audience for TV camera angles, I joined the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people across the Country in NOT watching this faux dog & pony TV show....there's A LOT of people in America, baby!

Instead, I attended one of the best live music shows on the West Coast on this night as RAY CARRION's LATIN MUSIC ALL STARS put on a show of shows, which was open to all music lovers of all colors, and showcased a virtual 'Who's who?" of American Latin Jazz, Latin Rock, and American Salsa artists from both west & east coasts who have now been denied a chance to compete for the once coveted Grammy Award in their genre.

Sorry, Sam...you missed a REAL show! No special lighting effects, smoke, artificial stage props, dance troupes in costumes, or large wide screens to distract & divert attention away from the performers on stage like a cheap Hollywood musical...these were REAL music artists plying their trade DIRECTLY to the audience...no time or room for the mediocre, the tired, the drunk, or the drug induced...it was time for talent, and the talent gave it up in diamonds & gold !

My Lady and I were lucky enough to get there early to MAMA JUANA's NIGHTCLUB in Studio City, just 2 zip code digits outside of Hollywood, with some friends, as the place filled to standing room only capacity by the first set.

The upper story nightclub on Cahuenga Boulevard just across the freeway from Universal CityWalk is comfortable and well decorated in simply stated elegance of good taste, with good service, cold drinks, and a good sized dance floor. The food is delicious gourmet of Latin American roots (Mexican-Cuban-PuertoRican-Carribean), and on this night, all dinners were offered at 50% off for show attendees...and we ALL got our grub on!

(I also highly recommend the warm brownie covered in hot chocolate syrup topped off with vanilla ice cream for desert....ummmmm!)

Legends on the stage included prior Grammy winners and Grammy-nominated...and they all showed us why. Artists included:

Ray Carrion~ guitar & vocals
Bob DeSena ~ vibes
Susie Hansen ~ electric violin & vocals ( one bad white babe on stage!)
Alberto Salas ~ keyboards
Iliana Rose~ electric piano
Joey DeLeon~ Congas
Walfredo Reyes ~ drums
Victor Baez ~ bongos
Gilberto Torres ~ flute
Pablo Mendez ~ electric violin
George Lopez ~ stand up bass
Oscar Hernandez ~ electric piano (2-time Grammy winner)
John Santos ~ conga
Bobby Sanabra~ drums
Ruben Estrada~ vibes
Robertito Melendez~ congas
Te'Cheetah Lopz ~ vocals
Gary Eisenbrg~ trumpet
Ramoncito Ramos ~ bongos
Zak Astor ~ electric piano
...and so many more I couldn't collect names on!

(my apologies to you all!)

The night was musical magic as Ray Carrion introduced guest star after guest star, and they all took their turns on stage, giving up KILLER solos, taking it up a notch each time.

I ran into singer GREG ESPARZA sitting at a table enjoying dinner and the show. He tells LatinoLA, "I just get so angry that some powers-that-be in the music world can be so arrogant, and feel so entitled, that they can openly and blatantly practice institutional racial posturing in this day and age in something so beautifully artistic as music, and actually think people will stand for it...I mean look at all this (gesturing to the full dance floor, and the stage full of musicians playing their hearts out)...how can anybody with even half a mind NOT find this music creative, beautiful, and NOT worth sharing with the world ?...a lot of people are missing out tonight!".

Towards the end of the show, Bobby Matos announced that he had garnered more than 20,000 signatures of protest against the NARAS's poorly-thought out exclusion of many ethnic music genres, and encouraged all to log onto www.grammywatch.org to learn more about this travesty, and to join in on the movement.

Of course, in ending this piece, I apologize for initially making this a solely racial invective. In these times of redneck foolishness & stupidity in Arizona and Georgia, and the underlying current of subtle, yet inevitable, racism building up towards our next presidential election, it's easy to do this...but there is NO color line in art and music, nor should there ever be.

I'm not just mad because they took out ethnic Latino music from the Grammy Awards...I'm mad because they took out almost ALL of the genre categories that encompass music from ALL people of ALL colors...catering to the tastes of the few that control the media, while "dumbing down" and limiting the future music world and tastes to colorless, bland, mediocrity under corporate market control....and that is unfair to EVERYBODY !

** Author's note**
To continue this line of intelligent and mature protest in support of all music artists, and to present this great live music to those of you who missed the show or who were turned away, MAMA JUANA's NIGHTCLUB will be hosting the RAY CARRION LATIN ALL STARS show and offering all dinners at 50% off to help fund raise in support of "the cause" for the next couple of Sundays starting at 5pm, until the salsa runs out.

For more info & reservations: 818-505-8636 or log onto www.mamajuanas.com

About Frankie Firme Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme was the first CHICANO Internet Radio DJ to play rare & rarely heard of recorded music of American people of color on the World wide Web at a time when others were struggling to be politically correct.
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