The nominees for the 2010 RFT music awards went live yesterday. It's been brought to my attention, however, that a few categories weren't quite as finished as they could be. And therefore, we've made a few changes to several of the categories. The Best Funk/Soul/R&B category has been split into two: solo artist and band/group, after multiple people pointed out that two nominees were better suited in the funk/soul/R&B solo artist instead of rap/hip-hop solo artist category. This is entirely my fault - blame lack of sleep, an overwhelming workload, poor editing on my part and simple oversight. Period. Because of the tight deadline of the ballot, I wasn't as careful as I could have been in making sure every nominee was in the best place possible. In addition, the Hip-Hop/Rap solo artist category needs a few more nominees, which will be determined by the end of the week.
A note on the this particular category: We cover a lot of solo artists in this genre on the blog and in print. Many of them are in a collective called the Force. In our recent feature on them, Calvin Cox wrote: "Cofounders Finsta and Tech Supreme describe the organization as 'a collective of forward-thinking innovators' that aims to change the local scene by 'being as creative as possible and staying true to their art.'" In other words: The Force is aiming to make progress by working together and helping each other out.
By nature, these awards pit artists against one another. It's just the nature of the beast. But singling out any one member of the Force to be nominated on his own as a solo artist on his own felt like it was going against the spirit of what they're trying to accomplish. It felt disrespectful - if not ignorant - to not acknowledge that they're finding strength in numbers, that they're not attempting to push progress forward on an individual basis.
I realize now that this line of thinking didn't come across with the list of nominees. It just looked like the solo achievements of these artists were being ignored, or that their accomplishments were being undermined, at the expense of other artists in town. Nothing could be further from the truth. And for that misunderstanding, I'm truly sorry. Nominating the Force as an entire entity in a separate category was our way of recognizing and honoring what it's trying to achieve. Choosing only a few members of the collective to honor as a solo artist is a difficult task, because the quality of their work is so strong.
Every year, these awards cause me great anguish. Besides the fact that not everybody can be nominated, trying to put artists and bands into a simple genre - which is an unfortunate necessary evil because of voting purposes - makes me lose sleep at night. It's not exactly fun having people attacking me and/or my employer over something that in the end is supposed to celebrate the talent we have in St. Louis. I'm hoping that this revision, however, will make the categories have better internal logical.