Jay-Z Called Out the Grammys for Decades of Racial Blind Spots

The Grammy Awards might be a celebration of music, but the Recording Academy is hardly is far from a perfect role model. Just listen to Hov. Near the end of Sunday night's ceremony, Jay-Z used his acceptance speech to highlight the Recording Academy's missteps in recognizing Black artists for their greatest achievements—specifically mentioning his wife, Beyoncé.

After winning the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z walked on stage with his daughter, Blue Ivy, and provided a stark reminder: Awards are nice, but they don’t mean much when decision-makers often miss the mark. “I don’t want to embarrass this young lady,” he said, referring to his wife, Beyoncé, “but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won Album of the Year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys. Never won Album of the Year. That doesn’t work.”

“Some of you are gonna go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed,” he continued. “Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don’t belong in the category.” As the crowd erupted in surprise, he added, “When I get nervous, I tell the truth.” This year, Beyoncé wasn’t eligible for nomination, but her last record, Renaissance, was snubbed at last year's ceremony; she lost Album of the Year to Harry Styles’ Harry House. It was the fourth time she failed to collect the all-genre award despite being nominated during her career.

Jay-Z concluded his acceptance speech with a message to the other artists in the room. “Forget the Grammys,” he said. “You have to keep showing up until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve, until they call you chairman, until they call you a genius until they call you the greatest of all time.”

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