BLACK NDNs. "If you know I have a history, you will respect me."



Just hours prior to the Grammys Pre-Telecast earlier this month, Radmilla Cody, a Navajo recording artist and Grammy nominee, tied her mother’s hair into a traditional Navajo bun as they dressed for music’s biggest night.  Both wore Navajo attire, with Radmilla in her most prized piece: A pair of moccasins her grandmother Dorothy made for her when Radmilla was a teenager.  Dorothy passed away late last year at the age of 97 just before Cody learned of the Grammy nomination.  Before walking out the door of a family friend’s home, her mother Margaret embraced her and tearfully said, “I’m very proud of you.  You’ve come a long way.  You worked so hard for this.”  With tears streaming down her cheeks, Cody responded, “Mom you always said, let them talk.  You said you’re going to be somebody and here we are.”

The road to the Grammys hasn’t been easy for the former Miss Navajo Nation, who is half black.  Growing up on the reservation she endured racial slurs. In 2003 she went to prison for more than a year in connection with drug-dealing activities of her then-boyfriend’s drug dealing, who she has said was physically and mentally abusive. Despite her accomplishments since then, which include earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations with a minor in Sociology from Northern Arizona University, many Navajos refuse to forgive and forget.  “Someone, (a Navajo), wrote ‘I hate you’ on my Facebook page after I received the Grammy nomination,” said Cody.

At the Nokia Theater for the Pre-Telecast, the family and friends in Team Cody screamed and yelled as if they were at a basketball game on the reservation when host David Alan Grier, actor, comedian and fellow Grammy nominee, introduced Cody as a presenter. It was the first time in Grammy history a Native American had served as a presenter.  After introducing herself in Navajo, Cody announced the winners in ten categories.  “It was exciting.  It was nerve-wracking.  I was very nervous but I was so honored (to present),” said Cody. 

Two days after attending the Grammys, Cody learned she is a nominee for a Native American Music Award (NAMA) for Best Female Artist, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Recording.  The 14th annual NAMA ceremony will be held, Friday, May 10, at the Seneca Casino & Hotel in Niagra Falls, New York.



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