It took 15 years for soul artists and reggae artists to be included in the list of categories.
The most dramatic moments at the Juno Awards, which were presented virtually on June 29, had nothing to do with the night’s big winners, Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara. These moments came at the top of the show, where the Junos were remarkably forthright about their need to diversify and how the show was late to acknowledge soul, reggae, rap and other forms of Black and indigenous music.
Allan Reid, president/CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, set the tone in his opening remarks. Musician-broadcaster Odario Williams and singer/songwriter Damhnait Doyle, who appeared together, then built on Reid’s remarks. Williams even saluted by name two artists who have criticized the Junos in the past.
Here are their opening statements, just lightly edited.