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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 5:40am ET by  

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Neil Portnow denies board of white supremacists decide GRAMMY winners

The head of the GRAMMYs Neil Portnow has spoken out about the ceremony and explained that he doesn't think there's a race problem. 

He spoke to Pitchfork about the issue and said that there's not a board of corporate suits deciding the GRAMMYs category winners and instead each prize winner is decided by a large group of music peers and contemporaries:

"I don’t think there’s a race problem at all. Remember, this is a peer-voted award. So when we say the Grammys, it’s not a corporate entity– it’s the 14,000 members of the academy. They have to qualify in order to be members, which means they have to have recorded and released music, and so they are sort of the experts and the highest level of professionals in the industry.”

“We don’t, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity. When you go to vote on a piece of music – at least the way that I approach it – is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen. It’s a matter of what you react to and what in your mind as a professional really rises to the highest level of excellence in any given year. And that is going to be very subjective."

"That’s what we ask our members to do, even in the ballots. We ask that they not pay attention to sales and marketing and popularity and charts. You have to listen to the music. So of the 14,000 voters, they listen, they make up their minds, and then they vote. Now here’s the other interesting part of the process, and we stand 100% behind the process: it’s a democratic vote by majority. So somebody could either receive or not receive a Grammy based on one vote. It could be that tight.”

Portnow added: "You don’t get Chance the Rapper as the best new artist of the year if you have a membership that isn’t diverse and isn’t open-minded and isn’t really listening to the music.”

Watch Portnow on stage at the event along with other GRAMMYs highlights here:

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