MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota-based band The Okee Dokee Brothers is declining a Grammy Awards nomination for Best Children’s Album due to the “all-white” and mostly male makeup of the nominees.

On Wednesday morning, the band announced that they wrote a letter — along with two fellow nominees Alastair Mook and Dog on Fleas — to the Recording Academy declining their nominations and asking their names to be removed. The band says the letter was prompted after nominees learned that all five nominees were white, and only one was female.

“This has been an intense, difficult, but also educational two weeks for all of this year’s nominees in our genre. All five acts were disappointed with the whiteness and maleness of the results, especially after this year of racial and gender reckoning in our country,” the band said on Facebook. “While we may have different approaches for how best to address the problems, we all recognize the need for change. We also recognize that this year’s one female nominee is in a different position from the rest of us, not least because it’s her first nomination.”

Calling the nomination results an “embarassment”, the Okee Dokee Brothers said the nominations historically overlook women and people of color and that this year was no different.

The band says it’s unknown whether or not the Recording Academy has removed their names, but the letter urges Academy voters to refrain from voting for all three bands included in the letter.

“This may lead to disagreements in our community, but we hope the focus will stay on implicit bias, and the systemic racism and sexism that affects our genre. Tangible progress is already being made due to the efforts of Family Music Forward and other black, brown, and female led institutions in our midsts,” the band said.

The Okee Dokee Brothers previously won a Grammy in 2012 for and have received several more nominations since.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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