We’re less than a week away from the 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony.
Considering the Latin Recording Academy’s multifarious membership of industry professionals, musicians, producers, recording engineers and other creative/technical recording professionals, there have been sometimes inexplicable absences of deserving qualifiers among its nominees through the years.
At the same time, the Latin Grammys have not been staid, and they have been a stage for some of the most audacious political moments, with the previous Obama era and the current presidential one riddled with Trumpisms.
Ahead of the Latin Grammys 2017, Billboard presents nine major political disses and music snubs in recent years.
Romeo Santos: The Dominican heartthrob’s Formula, Vol. 2 was the top-selling Latin album of the year when he was snubbed of any nomination (he’s written about this on his song “Si Me Muero’). That same year, he had filled arenas around the world, including Yankee Stadium — twice, an unprecedented feat for any Latino recording artist.
Shakira: Shakira was totally absent in the album categories because her same-name album that year was largely in the English language, which could point to a larger conversation as to what qualifies as Latinidad. The Academy’s rules of eligibility dictate 51 percent of the album has to be in Spanish-language. Also, not even her World Cup anthem “La La La” earned a nod in the song or record categories.
Trump diss: Music icons/Mexican rockers Maná and norteño kings Los Tigres del Norte photo-bombed the Latin Grammys after their joint performance when they unfurled a banner that read: “Latinos United, Don’t Vote for Racists.” Alas, Donald Trump is no less the current sitting president.
Michael Jackson salsa tribute album snub: Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson, a compilation album of MJ salsa covers that reeked Latin and tropical flavors, didn’t meet the 51 percent Spanish-language eligibility to be considered for a Latin Grammy nomination (only 50…), but that didn’t stop its producers from railing against the rules. However, the rules remain and no other complaints have surfaced.
Calle 13 political moment: Calle 13’s Residente was asked not to get “too political” during his performance of “El Aguante,” which opened up the Latin Grammys in 2015, Rene mid-way took off his jacket to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Ayotzinapa, 43 missing,” in reference to the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who disappeared and were presumed dead.
“We are all Ayotzinapa, we can’t allow this to go on today,” Perez said after his performance, later stating that “I don’t have to be a politician to speak out and have an opinion. Part of our jobs as artists is to speak out.” Politics are expected to be a big part of this year’s ceremony.
Nicky Jam: The Puerto Rican superstar’s absence from the list left was surprising, taking into consideration the many hits he rolled out throughout that year that ruled the Billboard charts. One of those was his chart-topping cut “Hasta el Amanecer,” which arguably deserved a nod in the best urban song category. This year, Nicky Jam is a nominee.
Ozuna: With a record 11 songs on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, Ozuna is not a nominee for best new artist, nor are any of his songs up for awards — even though a handful were released by the Latin Grammy deadline.