“Once a Philadelphia priest, always a Philadelphia priest,” Bishop Nelson Perez said after it was announced that he would become the next archbishop of Philadelphia — a decision by Pope Francis that has fueled a wide range of emotions from the region’s Catholic faithful. Meanwhile, the future of another Philadelphia institution is up in the air. Mayor Jim Kenney is calling for the Mummers to end all use of blackface after their latest controversy, and backed up that call with a direct threat.
And the Grammys are Sunday — perfect timing for a historical deep dive into the impact that gender and race have seemed to have on which artists win the top honors.
— Ray Boyd and Lauren Aguirre (email@example.com)
Lehigh University professor John Vilanova was first struck by the above question as he watched Taylor Swift win album of the year at the 2016 Grammys over Kendrick Lamar. So he went digging — sifting through decades of Grammys results to figure out if some sort of gender or racial bias was impacting the winners of the biggest awards: album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, and best new artist.
Vilanova found that while black artists clean up in categories considered “black music” (R&B, rap), the top honors consistently elude them. From Little Richard and Aretha Franklin to Lamar, Vilanova took a close look at racial attitudes in the United States and the music industry over time.
My colleague Cassie Owens spoke with Vilanova about this history, and he forecasts how it could impact Sunday’s Grammy showdown between superstars Lizzo and Billie Eilish.
Yesterday, Pope Francis announced that Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez would become the next archbishop of Philadelphia, replacing Charles J. Chaput. Perez, born in Miami and raised in New Jersey, will become the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.
“Once a Philadelphia priest, always a Philadelphia priest,” Perez said during his introductory news conference. “The part of me that has that identity inside of me cannot wrap its head around being archbishop of Philadelphia. It just doesn’t compute. But it is what the Lord wants."
Another blackface controversy came along with this year’s Mummers Parade. The incident now has sparked a threat from Mayor Jim Kenney: end the use of blackface, or say goodbye to the parade.
Kenney called for changes to "ensure a more orderly parade and mechanisms for accountability when participants violate Mummers’ rules around inappropriate content and bigoted actions.”
City Councilmember Cindy Bass proposed creating penalties for participants in the New Year’s Day festivities who paint their faces black.
Christ Church is beautiful and its history is just as interesting. Thanks for sharing and nice shot, @nsv32!
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“It is almost certain that our new prelate has strong, long-held opinions on our sports teams, our cultural touchstones, our culinary heritage. By which I mean, he’s definitely got a favorite cheesesteak spot, and there’s something very comforting in that.” — Columnist Mike Newall on Philadelphia’s new archbishop, Nelson Perez.