Reggaeton Artists Boycotting the 20th Annual Latin Grammy Awards
On the morning of Tuesday, September 24th, Ozuna awoke to the news that his best selling Latin Album of the Year Aura, had not earned a single nomination for the 20th Latin Grammy Awards. He was not the only Reggaeton artist to be omitted from the list of nominations, he was joined by the likes of Becky G (who has amassed 2 number 1 songs on Billboard’s Latin Airplay Charts and nearly 6 billion YouTube views), Karol G (who won the title of Best New Artist at the 2018 Latin Grammys), and Natti Natasha (the most viewed Urbano woman on YouTube). In fact, the only Latinx Urbano artists who were nominated for a Latin Grammy were Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Daddy Yankee, although none of their nominations were in any of the Latin Recording Academy’s most prestigious categories.
The Latin Recording Academy has never had a smooth relationship with the Urbano community, members often preferring to ignore the monstrously popular genre and the artists that encompass it. The lack of Reggaeton artists on the nominations list is not necessarily the most shocking revelation that came with this year’s announcement, moreover, it was the inclusion of European Urbano artists such as Rosalia and Alejandro Sanz in the most prestigious categories the Academy has to offer, that outraged artists and fans alike. The two Spanish artists received the most Latin Grammy nominations in the entire Urbano genre racking in 5 and 8 nominations respectively.
In response to the snub from the Latin Recording Academy, Daddy Yankee launched a boycott of the 2019 Latin Grammys on his Instagram. There, late on September 24th, he posted a picture of the Latin Grammy logo with a red X over it to his 33.9 million followers. He captioned the picture with his thoughts on the situation stating in Spanish:
“In spite of being nominated, I don’t agree with the manner in which this genre and many of my colleagues were treated.”
He followed his caption with the #sinreggaetonnohaylatingrammy, which translates to “there is no Latin Grammy without Reggaeton.” Other artists such as J Balvin and Nicky Jam, who felt snubbed by the Latin Recording Academy, followed the lead of the senior artist and reposted the graphic and hashtag, voicing their own feelings on the situation.
In response to the backlash the Latin Recording Academy issued the following statement:
"The Latin Recording Academy has followed a strict voting process for the past 20 years. The members, through their votes, select what they believe merits a nomination. The Academy has never influenced their decisions, have always honored and respected their elections, even if there are people who do not agree with the results. Nevertheless, we hear the frustration and discontent," the statement continues. "We invite the leaders of the urban community to get involved with the Academy, to get involved with the process, and to get involved with discussions that improve the Academy."
The genre of Reggaeton has seen a massive rapid growth in worldwide popularity and influence in recent years. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of Spanish entries on the Hot100 jumped from 4 to 19 in a single year. In 2017, Daddy Yankee was the only Spanish speaking artist to crack Spotify’s top ten most streamed artists of the year. While in 2018, Ozuna and Bad Bunny made the list and J Balvin became the 4th most streamed artist on the entire platform. Latin music is more popular worldwide than ever before, which is due in large part to the work done by the artists that have been denied Grammy nominations.
The Academy was further criticized for the inclusion of white European artists such as Rosalia and Alejandro Sanz, whose music could be categorized as Urbano or even Reggaeton. Both artists and the general public seem to view this act as an effort to whitewash the Latin Grammys seeing as neither singer is of Latinx descent yet both were nominated for Latin Grammys. In nominating two non-Latinx, Spanish (Hispanic) reggaeton artists instead of the myriad of Latinx artists who have been leading the genre in recent years, the Latin Recording Academy is pushing actual Latinx artists towards the margins of a music scene and award show that were meant to exist for them.
*López, Canela. “Reggaeton Artists Are Boycotting the Latin Grammys for 'Whitewashing.' Here's Everything You Need to Know.” Insider, 21 Oct. 2019, https://www.insider.com/reggaeton-artists-are-boycotting-the-latin-grammys-for-whitewashing-2019-10.
*“The Top Songs, Artists, Playlists, and Podcasts of 2018.” Spotify, 4 Dec. 2018, https://newsroom.spotify.com/2018-12-04/the-top-songs-artists-playlists-and-podcasts-of-2018/.
*“20a Entrega Anual Del Latin GRAMMY.” Latin GRAMMYs, The Recording Academy, 2019,