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Erykah Badu, "Bag Lady"

Grammy Awards to take center stage

It’s difficult to keep up with all of the music, movie and television awards that seem to have magically appeared during the past few years, but no music award ceremony will ever be as prestigious as the Grammy Awards.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, also known as the Recording Academy, was started in 1957 and currently consists of more than 17,000 musicians, producers and other recording professional members. Besides the Grammy Awards, the Academy is responsible for outreach programs involving education, human services, arts advocacy and cultural enrichment, according to the Grammy Awards’ Web site.

The Grammy Awards ceremony was created in 1958 to recognize artistic and technical accomplishments and is not influenced by sales figures or chart positions. The four-stage process, including entering, screening, nominating and voting, is an annual event.

Jon Stewart will host the 2001 ceremony and performances will be made by Lil’ Bow Wow, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and the Blue Man Group, among others.

Male musicians made a clean sweep in the Album of the Year nominations this year, but it’s still a good year for female musicians, with almost half of the nominations for Record of the Year going to female artists.

Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” were tossed into the mix as nominees for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, hopefully not as afterthoughts. They are the two who, in all probability, deserve the award most but are unlikely to win, since they are competing against Christina Aguilera’s “What A Girl wants,” Macy Gray’s “I Try” and Madonna’s “Music.”

Gray is also up for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, both for “I Try,” while Destiny’s Child is up for five Grammy’s with nomination for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best R&B Song.

Another performer who is sure to make a big splash this year is the unstoppable Madonna. It’s been a busy year for the music-making machine, and, through it all, she has kept the status as the queen of pop music. Along with her female pop vocal nomination, she’s up for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Sisq¢’s “Thong Song” is pitted against Brian McKnight’s “Stay Or Let It Go” and D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category. Toni Braxton will fight Erykah Badu, Kelly Price, Aaliyah and Jill Scott for the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and the Beastie Boys’ “Alive” is up against Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” which features Snoop Dogg in the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group category.

Capitol Records recently released a collection of CDs titled “Grammy Nominees 2001.” A portion of the CD sales will benefit the Grammy Foundation, which is a nonprofit group within the Academy that is dedicated to advancing music and arts-based education across the country.

For more information on the Grammy Foundation or the Recording Academy, visit or e-mail The Grammy Awards will air tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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