MC Lyte served as the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy (the Grammy organization) from 2011 to 2013. She is the first African American to serve in this role and she is also the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc., an entertainment and production firm, and the founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which has presented two $100,000 scholarships to college students each year since its inception.
I recall the first time I was nominated for a GRAMMY. I was 23 [years old] and had been in the business for six years. To receive such an acknowledgement was amazing. It had only been three years since the GRAMMYs started televising Rap categories—something my peers had fought for. In 1988, that fight included a boycott, which was what everybody saw.
What everybody didn’t see was everything behind the scenes. To get rap recognized, to make the GRAMMYs create a Rap category, to get those awards televised—that took us getting involved in how The Recording Academy treated our music.
Every artist knows what a GRAMMY means. I knew if I was serious about my career, I’d have to learn all I could about how things worked. I joined the Governor’s Board of the Academy’s Los Angeles Chapter. Before long, I understood what it meant to volunteer for a bigger purpose.
I learned the GRAMMYs gave a great show, but The Recording Academy worked all year long to not only award accolades, but help protect the rights of musicians, help them make better business decisions, connect new talent with experienced musicians, producers, and managers. I learned about Musicares, which helps musicians in dire straits and the GRAMMY Foundation, which supports music education.
Read the rest if the profound letter here.
This letter comes at an interesting time when Billboard has opted to not include Christian rap on the gospel charts. In a letter sent out before the holidays it was explained that Billboard will discontinue flagging Christian Rap/Hip-Hop titles for our Gospel Albums, Gospel Digital Songs and Hot Gospel Songs charts starting next week. This new the first week of the 2015 Billboard chart year. Effective immediately they will compete on the Christian Music chart.
These are interesting times in the music business.
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