Many Latin music executives are fuming over the Latin nominations for the 2019 Grammys because of an unlikely disconnect: not a single reggaetón album is nominated in a year in which reggaetón has dominated global music charts.
“We have never made better music as an industry, music that is played everywhere in the world. And for the Academy to not recognize that is absolutely tragic,” says Rebecca Leon, who is on the Academy’s diversity and inclusion task force and also manages J Balvin, Rosalia and two-time Grammy winner Juanes.
Leon isn't alone in her disconcert. Several executives, from different sectors of the industry, contacted Billboard to lament Latin category nominations that one voting member called “lacking in import” overall. While he was referring to all the categories, which in all instances include some albums that have never charted on Billboard, the disconnect is particularly obvious when it comes to reggaetón. That’s because “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin is a contender in the ercord of the year category, but Balvin’s critically acclaimed album Vibras is not nominated in the Latin categories. Neither is Ozuna, who finished 2018 as Billboard’s Latin artist of the year and who was the most viewed artist on YouTube globally; Maluma, who won best Latin pop album at the Latin Grammys for F.A.M.E.; or Nicky Jam, who performed at the World Cup closing ceremony.