In an interview with Canadian online news source The Providence , Santana said he was angered because the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has kept “so many categories of Country & Western.”
“Country & Western people have seven to nine to 10 (awards) shows a year and you seldom see Negroes or Latin people,” Santana told TheProvidence.com
“I think they’re racist. Period. I do.”
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, significantly dropped the number of categories going from 109 to 78. Out of these, Latin music categories were severely affected with Latin Jazz eliminates all together.
Others, such as Hawaiian, Native American and Cajun-Zydeco categories were also dropped.
“Why do they cut only this music? Why not other music,” Santanta told the Canadian news outlet
“You can’t eliminate black gospel music or Hawaiian music or American Indian music or Latin jazz music because all this music represents what United States is: a social experiment.”
Other Latin artists such as Bobby Sanabria, Mark Levine, Ben Lapidus and Eugene Marlow took matters into their own hands and filed a suit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences last week.
For Santana, what infuriates him is that “only certain people voted, overnight.”
“They didn’t even tell other members, he said. “Quincy Jones didn’t know, Herbie Hancock didn’t know.”
“I’m not afraid if they don’t invite me again,” Santana added. “I’m not afraid to say that it’s basically racist."