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Grammys: Backstage Pass

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The 50th annual Grammys, music's biggest night, was overflowing with an undeniable fervor. The ardor was due to a diversity many of us have rarely experienced from such large-scale shows like the Grammys. It was a mix of the classic and the contemporary and believe it or not, the classic won. Yes, it won big time... Album of the Year went to Herbie Hancock. The most coveted prize of the night was the biggest surprise of the night.

Herbie's night wasn't over after his big win at the Grammys, he performed with Ne-Yo and Stevie Wonder immediately after the Grammys at VIP tribute for Berry Gordy at the Grammy celebration party which was held in the Convention Center. I would have to say, it was a Patron-soaked Sunday night, drenched with all the notes a woman can bear! Listening to Herbie and Stevie rock out with Ne-Yo, I could barely keep myself from jumping out of my seat!

It's the first year I have not rushed off to another party after the Grammy celebration party. I was stuck at the tribute for Berry Gordy simply because the music kept me there.

The performers filled up the tiny room with their grandiose sound. Jill Scott in her shiny gold dress performed a song from her latest album and then took a seat stage right relaxing into all the tones in the air. To sit with all my mentors and heroes, soaking in the sound of brilliance, how could I just leave? And, of course, there is the occasional heart-stopping moment to keep me there, when artists like Prince slip in to catch a few songs and then before the key can hit the next note, he's gone.

The most memorable Grammy moments was at the end of the night outside the VIP area where Quincy Jones was plopped on a seat next to his much younger girlfriend. I loved Quincy's passion when he furiously affirmed that Herbie Hancock was the only real Artist among those nominated in the same category. Kanye West, he said didn't really deserve the Record of the Year next to Herbie. Yes...but he's got that ambition, baby.

I know the annual Grammys seems like it's a flashy prodigious enterprise where A-listers flash their excessive wealth and glamour, don't get me wrong, it is that too but its also an imperative fundraiser for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). Since most people don't have a real clue as to what NARAS actually does besides throwing a great spectacle of a show for 3 ½ hours here is a little idea. NARAS has four pillars of the academy that include membership and awards, music education and preservation, philanthropy and charity, and advocacy for the music industry.

Grammy week is a brilliant execution of events under the umbrella of those pillars; it allows its members some reassertion that the music community can still create magic and music is still alive and kicking. The money raised from events like Person of the Year (which was 4.5 million this year) and the Annual Grammy Awards helps programs that aid in health care, rent and basic food and necessities for struggling artists. MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation depend on the proceeds from the Annual Grammy Awards to help these artists. It's virtually unknown that the MusiCares Foundation was one of the first to rush to aid after Katrina victims had lost everything. Musicians were given money for rent, food and instruments.

Its great to be on the board of governors for an organization that does so much and still knows how to throw a heck of a party. Granted, the party sometimes outshines the real work, but I think if your going fishing, you've got to have some bait!