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Music cut from 2023 Ursa Major Awards after 'squabbling'

Edited as of Tue 9 Apr 2024 - 06:21
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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx Voting opened March 1 for the 2023 Ursa Major Awards - but the event intended to identify and celebrate the best works featuring non-human beings given human attributes has been marred by drama, well before the close of voting on its popularly-selected nominees on March 24.

Update (Apr 9): The winners have been announced.

Initially, there were fifteen award categories, but the Music category was removed five days after nominees were announced:

The organization posted an additional explanation on its front page:

It's important to remember that the Ursa Major Awards (like so many other awards) are designed to celebrate and recognize great works, not to judge the character or personality of creators. Unfortunately, the personal squabbling, attacks, and counter-attacks have reached a fever pitch in the Best Music Category this year. The staff of the ALAA have made the unfortunate observation that the category has been compromised, and so we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Best Music category for works from last year (2023). We fully intend to attempt the award in that category again next year (for works from 2024), hopefully with some better controls in place. We apologize to all the music creators out there, and we thank all of our nominators and voters for their patience.

The formerly-nominated works within the cancelled category were:

Klace, who cut business ties with Cassidy Civet after comments made during a dispute over the definition of furry music, also requested removal of his Best Game nominee Komorebi (which contained some songs from Triple Threat which Cassidy had written).

2023 Ursa Major Award nominees

Open for voting through March 24.

Best Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Dramatic Short Work

One-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Dramatic Series

TV or YouTube series videos.

Best Novel

Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Short Fiction

Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short Written works.

Best General Literary Work

Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.

Best Non-Fiction Work

Best Graphic Story

Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.

Best Comic Strip

Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

Best Magazine

Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

Best Visual Art

Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.

Best Game

Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

Best Website

Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

Best Anthropomorphic Fursuit


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They also removed the Music section from the recommended list for the year as well.

After Soatok highlighted the a particular rallying civet tweet appeared to have bots liking it, I was wondering if there was another reason other than the flare up that the section was removed. As noted in a prior article the system is pretty susceptible to social engineering for a highly motivated individual; who always tend to say the line "I care about the award more than [the ALAA] do". Yeah, that's not necessarily a good thing, especially if a person (or their fan[s]) cares about an award so much they'll take advantage of a system.

We're seeing more and more, both inside the fandom and in general, that democracy only works when the populous itself is honorable and honors the intent of the systems instead of gamifying it for their own ends.

Chivalry truly is dead.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

I guess my worries about The Boy and the Heron not making the recommended list were at least somewhat justified, though looking at the nominees, eh, I can see all of them being legitimately more popular (even I would've placed my number one vote elsewhere). Of course, I find this amusing because furries like to bend over backwards claiming some of Miyazaki's way less furry stuff is (Spirited Away was nominated, and though it's obviously a great movie, I don't think I would have reviewed it for Flayrah ... which was kind of Wild West at the time, but boy I'm drifting). Miyazaki didn't bother to show up for his Oscar for the movie, so I really doubt he's upset at missing the Ursa Major.

Also, looks like we decided A Fox in Space wasn't a movie (it wasn't, but Green Reaper did eventually make some good points about its possible category fraud).

I feel sorry for Patricia Taxxon here, who seems to have been innocent, and to a lesser extent the Lowds, who's rescinding of an honor wasn't even Mary's fault this time.

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Oh, and Helluva Boss apparently just won something called a Queerty, so good for them!

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Is the award shaped like a keyboard? That would be hilarious.

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Also it's important to note that the comments that were made was that Cassidy had invoked the recently passed Mark Merlino to try and defend her more restrictive definition of furry music. People in general did not react positively to such an act, including those who knew him intimately. This also soured Klace's relation to her. In response Cassidy decided to invoke Klace's race (incorrectly, but still) to disparage his position.

It was quite and ugly feud, and it caused headaches for Vancouver (who eventually Klace and them came to terms). I had published a video on my channel on the affair prior to the publication of this article.

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Honestly, I'm still like, "Okay, that's the one that got her canceled? Like, have you met her?"

We're still Internet friends, I don't give a shit, but she can be a little pill sometimes.

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I would argue that, while she could have a leg to stand on if she's miffing the feathers of some convention board and declare her as just a loud outsider being brought down by 'the man', man.

It's a whole other thing when a fellow content creator who basically has a lot in common with you (both appear to be affluent Vancouver natives who both create furry content and music). In that case, it's a lot harder to counter that it's some big conspiracy against her.

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I worry about the folks who run the ALAA/Ursa Major Awards getting caught in all this flak.

To be honest, it would not surprise me if they decide to just pull the plug on the whole thing and be done with it.

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Preface this with this comment is also in reply to Sonious's comment upthread, I'm just combining my replies, so if you're reading this and think to yourself "what the fuck, I wasn't talking about that at all", well, yes, actually, I may not be talking to you at all specifically at the moment (alternatively, I may all just be rambling incoherently, that does happen).

I'm not sure if you're talking about "pulling the plug" on the Ursa Majors as a whole, or just the Music category. I mean, both seem possibilities. Following the "Carry On" drama two years back, yes, they may get sick of all the drama, but even if they just decide to "Carry On" themselves, well, they did note that funding has been an issue for a while. (I see Kathy Garrison has returned to her category after a year of absence, and she didn't get greedy this time so best of luck to her, genuinely, I mean, I don't really have a horse in that race, anyway.) I think the Leos shuttering this year (though they were smaller, more specific and younger, with less momentum behind them) kind of had a damning line in their final post with "there are more writers than readers" and though I think they meant "reader judges for our award" I think it's very possible they did not (I mean, I'm pretty well aware I write for an "organization" who's viewcounts sometimes reach high double digits on a good day).

But that also brings me to the actual Music category, which is, ironically, a category that neither the average voter nor the awards administrators either wanted or much cared about, they just got bullied into it by a couple of musicians (including definitely Cassidy, and given Klace's history with the awards, I'm sure he chimed in a bit). Like, that drama grew out of argument about what constitutes "furry music" is ironic, because to most furries, music isn't furry.

I've already said I'm Internet friends with Cassidy, but that mostly means reading reposted Tweets from musicians complaining they don't get any respect from furries, and honestly, no, you don't get any respect. Like, great, you did a DJ set for a dance or even a concert; well, I guess we had to do something after most of the main con events were done for the day but before the room parties really start, and karaoke and the stand up open mic were the other nights. The comedians aren't out here arguing for a "Best Stand Up" comedian at the Ursa Majors, because that's stupid. And, theoretically, if I had to pick a side in the "does furry music have to be about furry?" debate, I'd take Cassidy's side, at least she's trying to make it furry, but, once again, only theoretically, because practically, filk usually sucks.

And I kind of have to agree with Howie Mandel (who X-ed Cassidy off the Canada's Got Talent reality competition very quickly, Google it you missed that chapter in this saga), even if he was a jerk about it, asking "why the suit?" I don't get it, either. I get wanting to get up on a stage and sing a song for an audience, and I get wanting to show off your fursuit. But I don't get what they have to do with each other. Okay, I kind of get it, mixing your two major passions makes sense on paper, but not always in practice. But, on the other hand, I mean, if you want to be a "furry musician" but you can't even be bothered to wear the stupid suit or sing stupid songs about foxes, I mean, what's the point? It's like that time I lurked on the wrong thread on and found myself looking at pictures taken at a unofficial room party orgy, and I was horrified to learn nobody was wearing suits. Like, if you're going to spend hundreds of dollars to pay the con fee, pay for a hotel room, travel expenses and copious amounts of lube and condoms, and then not get fucked in a fursuit, what are you even doing?

Okay, we have definitely entered "incoherent rambling" territory, let's try to get back on track.

My point it's a bad category, and reassurances to the contrary it will return, I will not miss it if it doesn't.

Now, as for Cassidy personally, well, like I said, kind of a pill, so you knew this day was coming. Doesn't make it any easier to watch, and also, once again, like, seriously, that's what finally sunk her. The Mark Merlino tweet, (which, I mean, nobody has ever used tragedy to grandstand on the Internet before, jeez), not the calling Klace white, which is actually kind of funny but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to laugh at that. But, anyway, the Merlino tweet was crass and stupid, but about a 3.5 on the "Stupid-Shit-Cassidy-Civet-Has-Tweeted" Scale. Like, I "met" her when she decided me being excited about Zootopia was a crime against furry, somehow. I was younger back in those days, more forgiving, so I decided to be the bigger man and ask her to post a trailer for some stupid documentary she thought mattered, and instead she posted an opinion piece that's pretty hard not to see as a personal attack, even if it really wasn't. Bitch.

Amusing note, but I see re-reading the piece that this is somehow, once again, all Rakuen Growlithe's fault.

Anyway, long story short, a few of the Fursonas documentary backers got it moved out of the movie category into a new "non-fiction" category so it wouldn't have to compete with Zootopia, only to have the documentary get its assed creamed by Zootopia's art book (that has very little bearing on anything, but I just like this part of the story), I forgave Cassidy anyway, even though she is still annoying (she complains about the corporate origins of Zootopia in the piece, which, fair enough, but the Venn diagram of people I follow on Twitter who complain about furries liking corporate properties and complain about furries liking independent success story Helluva Boss is a circle that can simply be labeled "Cassidy the Civet"), and I will still call her a bitch now, because I don't have her back, exactly, but I do still feel sorry for her.

I actually finally met her, for real, about two years ago, at the Tails and Tornadoes convention, and one of the things she told me was how excited she was for her upcoming collaboration with Klace, and I tried to act excited for her, like I really gave a shit, but looking back, I mean, ouch.

Your rating: None Average: 1.2 (5 votes)

Why did you spend the time writing that shit that not even the people involved are going to read

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even if they just decide to "Carry On" themselves, well, they did note that funding has been an issue for a while

From their front page:

Last year, we came out in the black for the first time due to the many generous donations for which we were very grateful.

That statement was not there last year. So if that were a factor, you might have expected it to be cancelled earlier, not now. But I guess they might always cut their losses while they're ahead?

Also: the first step towards recovery as a commentator is realising that other fans' opinions and beliefs aren't intended as personal slights. The second step is not calling them a bitch anyway. Please keep working at it.

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She literally calls me out by name in the piece I linked to; it doesn't get more personal than that, Green Reaper.

However, while, yes, I totally called her a bitch (for real instead of accidentally like you did that one time), I was making the point we're friends. Like, public spaces and appropriateness, and all, but my point is she's my bitch, you know?

I do think it's important, in case she ever wanders over here again, that her flaws are not exactly forgiven, and definitely not forgotten, but in my case at least she is accepted. (Besides, I'd imagine saying "furry music isn't furry" is actually way more hurtful to her.)

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (2 votes)

Fair enough, except she called you "best bud" there, and you... didn't. To me, it's degrading language to a female. You probably know how she'd take it better than I, though; I don't follow her (or really, anyone) on Twitter.

On a lighter note, at least the UMA doesn't have to fork out to send out ballot papers now. (It might be good if they at least let people sign up to be emailed reminders for next year or to vote after nomination.)

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Yes, the gendered aspect of "bitch" is actually problematic, you should have led with that! Furthermore, I can't honestly say how she'd take it, either, and it is meant to be offensive a little (if not in that way), but my point is she's got issues but I'm not letting this incident change our relationship (which is still just Internet friends who met one time). If me calling her a "bitch" did change it for her, however, then obviously we've always deserved each other.

But "best buds" is so obviously sarcastic, I mean, come on, Green Reaper! (Which seems to contradict the whole "we're cool now" argument, but, uh, relationships change over time.)

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Not gonna. We're soldiering on. But, some of our committee are retiring after this year. They've been at this a while and they're, quite frankly, tired.

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Yeah, and I'm probably not giving anyone a really restful feeling, but I do want to say thanks. It's a lot of fun for me, this thing you all do, past present and future, and I appreciate that, and sorry for being so negative around it all the time.

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"Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!" :D I'm glad to hear it, Mink.

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You've doubled up a link, so I can't see what the dispute was. It's really confusing because it sounds like people were upset that she invoked a dead person as support for something (I can't comment, not knowing his views or what was actually said) but also because she said furry music should actually be furry.

That last part is the one that is so strange, though I noted long ago that for some reason just being music made by a fur seems to be enough justification to call it furry music by some people ( That just seems stupid. As I said before, my and Uncle Kage's science is not furry science because we are both scientists. A landscape drawn by a fur doesn't become furry art, there does have to be some actual furry content. I don't see why music would be different nor why that should be in any way controversial.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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The link in question has been fixed to be

When you want to be recognised within furry fandom for your music, perhaps in order to get placement at events, I imagine it is somewhat problematic to be excluded. In fairness, furries tend not to be fans of purely furry music at furry events, although perhaps that is because there is relatively little of it, or because the nature of some music does not particularly lend it to anthropomorphism (perhaps we will see more techno howls?).

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Oof, that last line of the tweet was really ill-advised.

If music is hard to "furrify" then maybe it doesn't need to be. There's no need for everything to be furry. People can just enjoy good music the same as we can enjoy good food without it needing to somehow be furry.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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But then there'd be no UMA! (It's telling that there's no description, unlike most categories. I guess fursuit is obvious?)

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So kind of to deviate back on topic a little bit.

To Crossaffliction,

If you were to pick the best Anthro Film that is NOT listed in the Nominations above, which one would it be?

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I'm not sure why you're asking, because I thought I was pretty clear; The Boy and the Heron. But it would be second behind another nominated movie that should be obvious.

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Motion Picture

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3
  2. Leo
  3. Migration

Partly about availability (since I have Netflix)

Dramatic Short Work

  1. Lackadaisy (Pilot)
  2. A Fox In Space - Episode Two - Fixing a Hole
  3. Tamberlane

Meeps is more accomplished than at least Tamberlane, but it's also a huge paid team effort.

Dramatic Series

  1. Helluva Boss
  2. Bluey - Season 3
  3. Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake


  1. Rafts
  2. You're Cordially Invited to Crossroads Station
  3. Otters In Space 4: First Moustranaut

Short Fiction

  1. Of Heart and Stone
  2. How Pepper Learned Magic
  3. Aged Plant Fibers and Ink

Always surprised these don't get more votes when you can usually just read them for free, which is more than you can say for most movies.

General Literary Work

  1. Zooscape Volume One
  2. Gnoll Tales
  3. Some Words Burn Brightly

Non-Fiction Work

  1. Furscience
  2. Furry Planet
  3. On Furries and The Media

Unsure whether an award for Furscience would validate the work of the IARP or the reverse, because they're no longer uninvolved.

Graphic Story

  1. Tamberlane
  2. Silverwing: The Graphic Novel
  3. Slightly Damned

I also read TwoKinds... but TBH it has a lot of awards already.

Comic Strip

  1. The Whiteboard
  2. Freefall
  3. Foxes in Love

Unfortunate that Out Of Placers and The Long Hike didn't make it (or DMFA, but the artist had medical issues last year anyway).


  1. Flayrah
  2. In-Fur-Nation
  3. Zooscape

Visual Art

  1. Our Furry City - Anthrocon 2023 by ARVEN92
  2. The Record Store by Squiddy
  3. Winterrock Oasis by Bubblewolf

A bit hard to pick between Squiddy's but I liked the brighter option.


  1. Laika: Aged Through Blood
  2. Pseudoregalia
  3. Friends vs Friends

Pity the UMAs couldn't fill the slot with another choice, but in fairness adding to the ballot after it starting wouldn't give it a fair shot anyway.


  1. WikiFur
  2. Wolfery
  3. Kemono Cafe

Furry MUCKs are in a strange half-life, with the largest still going but at reduced size with a few busy rooms, and a few others limping on with a handful of olayers. RP options are fragmented with e.g. F-list, and Wolfery doesn't exactly help there, but at the same time the tech needs to move forward as it's increasingly hard for people to even connect to an MUCK (they were never designed to be used in a connectionless way, despite it basically just needing a small buffer per connection).


  1. Forlorn Raven
  2. Draco
  3. Pig in Dress

It looked like a very nice pig, OK? Draco was clearly a lot to accomplish, can see it winning, conversely Raven had the fuzzy quality edge.

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We won!

Actually I guess this is your list of potential winners? I got confused because voting has ended now but I guess not actually announced.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

It's my votes; the UMA put together a video so can't turn it around on a dime.

Edit: Apparently they're being presented at Golden State Fur Con early next month.

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The winners will be announced at Golden State Fur Con on Sunday, April 7, at 11:30 am PST.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a developer, editor and Kai Norn from London, United Kingdom, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.