Rap mogul Sean 'Diddy' Combs took aim at the beleaguered Recording Academy bosses for their treatment of hip-hop acts as he accepted one of the organisation's top prizes on Saturday (25Jan20).
As the Grammy bosses continue to lick their wounds following suspended chief executive and president Deborah Dugan's recent corruption and sexual misconduct allegations, Diddy gave the Recording Academy officials another black eye during his President's Merit Award acceptance speech at Salute to Industry Icons gala in Beverly Hills.
Confessing he had felt conflicted about collecting the prize, the rapper raged, "Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys. Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be... And that stops right now.
"I'm officially starting the clock. You’ve got 365 days to get this s**t together. We need transparency, we need diversity. They’re (Academy bosses) a non-profit organisation that’s supposed to protect the welfare of the musical community. But it’s going to take all of us to get this done. It’s going to take the artists and executives to recognise their power. So sign me up. I’m here to help make a difference and help us have a positive outcome."
He went on to dedicate his award to Kanye West, Beyonce and the other black artists who have been snubbed or overlooked by Grammy bosses for top album prizes. Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z were in the audience, alongside stars like Keith Urban, Joni Mitchell, Dua Lipa, Cardi B, Migos, and Janet Jackson.
"We’ve seen Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson; Michael Jackson’s holding eight Grammys and he was dropping the Grammys," Diddy added. "But you know why he was dropping the Grammys and why he got eight Grammys? Because they never nominated him for Off the Wall. So Thriller was his revenge.
"My goal used to be about making hit records. Now it’s about ensuring that the culture moves forward. My culture. Our culture. The black culture. And for me to be worthy of receiving an icon award, I have to use my experience to help to make a change. On that note, I’m finishing up: You all got 365 days.
"I want to dedicate this award to Michael Jackson for Off the Wall, Prince for 1999, Beyonce for Lemonade, Missy Elliott for The Real World, Snoop Dogg for Doggystyle, Kanye West for Graduation and Nas for Illmatic."
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