Fashion-Policing The Grammys

Posted February 8th, 2013 at 6:37 pm (UTC+0)
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By Katherine Cole

The stars and their stylists have been shopping for months already, so the “what not to wear” warning issued by the CBS television network this week may be falling on deaf ears.  Just a few days after they accidentally broadcast Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco uttering a few unsavory words, a memo has been leaked that shows the network urging the music industry to keep the Grammy telecast clean and classy. At least when it comes to clothing. The email, which first appeared on, warns performers and other artists likely to be on camera to avoid thong-type costumes. The network also asks that women’s tops be both secure and opaque, hoping, no doubt, to avoid the sort of  fall-out that occurred during Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.  The memo also warns against bare sides, making me think Toni Braxton’s Grammy outfit from 2001 wouldn’t pass muster with network bosses this week!

It isn’t just skimpy clothing that Grammy hopes to avoid. Attendees are also cautioned not to advertise political or social causes too explicitly: “The Network requests that any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory.”

Earlier this week, I spoke with Grammy nominee  Tamara Johnson George  (Taj) about the return of SWV (Sisters With Voices). The group had a string of hits in the 90’s but split up, with the members not even speaking for ten years. Much to the delight of their fans, Taj,  LeAnne “LeLee” Lyons and Cheryl “Coko” Clemmons  were able to put their differences aside, reuniting and releasing “I Missed Us” last spring. The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard R&B chart and their cover of Patti LaBelle’s 1984 hit “If Only You Knew” earned SWV a Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category.

Taj told me picking a Grammy outfit is serious business. ” You’re looking for the best outfit that is going to bring the most attention to you as possible. You want your hair to be perfect. Your makeup has to be perfect.  You have to learn how to walk down that red carpet and grab the media’s attention .”

It’s a safe guess that photos of the outfits chosen by the SWV ladies Taj, LeLee and Coko  will be up on their site soon after the 55th Grammy Awards are handed out Sunday in Los Angeles.

Host of VOA's Roots and Branches, and world traveler extraordinaire! When I'm not listening to music, I'm probably talking about it or thinking about the next band I'm going to see. Or my next interview! Join me every week for the best in folk, bluegrass and all other forms of American roots music!

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VOA’s music bloggers bring you info about all kinds of music. Katherine Cole will keep you up-to-date on the world of Bluegrass and Americana music while Ray McDonald rocks the Pop charts and artists. Diaa Bekheet  jams with you on Jazz.  Visit us often. Your comments are welcome.



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