The Elephant at the Grammys

Tyler Hayes

The Grammy is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. For many years artists have expressed alleged racism in the Awards. These accusations have been highlighted be several controversial voting results, and the controversial voting process itself. 

This year’s 2020 annual Grammy commenced its 62nd ceremony. Rapper icon Sean “Diddy” Combs and Tyler the Creator calls out the Grammy’s Categories for being injustice. 

At the annual pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis, Diddy was given an icon award at the party, and spoke of his pain at past treatment by The Recording Academy.

“I have to be honest. The last few days I’ve been conflicted. I’m being honored by this industry I love, this family that I love, but there’s an elephant in the room and it’s not just about the Grammys,” he said. “This is discrimination and injustice everywhere at an all-time high. For most of us, this is all we’ve got. It’s our only hope. 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. So, right now, in this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on and it’s not just going on in music. It’s going on in film. It’s going on in sports, It’s going on around the world.”

Backing his statement up at the ceremony was artist Tyler the Creator. 

Tyler won his first ever Grammy, taking home best rap album for IGOR. Minutes later after his speech he admitted to reporters backstage that he'd love to break out of those rap or urban categories and be recognized on a more mainstream level. 
Tyler, the Creator poses in the press room with the award for Best Rap Album for "Igor" during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020.

"I'm half and half on it," he said, responding to a question about the Grammy voting process being called into question over the past week, thanks in part to a high-profile lawsuit filed by ousted The Recording Academy chief Deborah Dugan, and how he feels about it. 

"On one side, I'm very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this. But also, it sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that's genre-bending, they always put it in a 'rap' or 'urban' category … I don't like that 'urban' word. To me, it's just a politically correct way to say the N-word. Why can't we just be in pop?”

For decades there’s been an “elephant in the room”...will the Grammys ever take care of it?

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