Reader DA writes to rightly remind us that there IS a nasty and often overlooked history of outright vote-buying in sg for Dove Awards. I speak of course of the infamous James Blackwood episode of 1971. The Blackwoods were accused of aggressively recruiting votes for themselves and “tainting the process” by giving out ballots with the Blackwoods’ name already filled in and in some cases including free memberships to GMA and other gifts. As James Goff writes, “no specific bylaw of the organization had been broken,” but “the tractic created an industrywide concern over” voting improprieties. Blackwood apologized (though notably only “For what I consider unethical solicitation of votes by members of our organization,” - not anything he himself personally did … that’s my emphasis in the quote), and the awards were nullified anyway.
The whole ordeal proceeded in a code of ethics but no real substantive changes to the process, which seems pretty clearly to remain vulnerable to being gamed. More to the point though, I suspect that Blackwood simply was the first to get caught doing something that was shocking the first time but becomes less so as we desensitize ourselves to the realities of corruption among the saints. Which is to say, Blackwood’s Get Out The Vote shenanigans today probably wouldn’t have caused nearly as much of a stir.
(A sidenote: it’s interesting that Blackwood’s Dove buying scandal gets so little attention these days in the collective memory of sg, and elsewhere too … Blackwood’s wikipedia entry makes a big stink about how many Dove Awards he won and yet studiously ignores his vote-buying scandal. I wonder if this isn’t the case because few people want to remind each other that one of gospel music’s patriachs was involved in such unseemly mucking about in the sludge of raw self-aggrandizement).
In the Young Harmony bit below, I linked to a post of mine from a few years back about how the Doves work. But just in case you missed it (and some people obviously did), here it is again. Here also is some historical context on the chilly relationship between sg and GMA.Email this Post