Diddy may have been honored by the Grammys on Saturday night but he made it clear the body judging the music awards has a long way to go in honoring work from people of color. Sean Combs was on stage to accept the President’s Merit Award at a Pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday night and had some strong words for the very academy that was honoring him, asking the body to take a second look at how it weighs the work of black artists making hip hop and R&B.
Diddy posted the video to his Instagram with a simple comment: “YOU HAVE 365 DAYS,” presumably to get it right next year.
“So I say this with love to the Grammys, because you really need to know this, every year y’all be killing us man. Man, I’m talking about the pain. I’m speaking for all these artists here, the producers, the executives,” Diddy said. “The amount of time it takes to make these records, to pour your heart into it, and you just want an even playing field.”
Combs evoked another artist of color in his criticism, saying R&B and rap artists have “never been respected” by the recording industry.
“In the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘We are artists and we are sensitive about our sh*t.’ We are passionate. For most of us, this is all we got. This is our only hope,” Combs continued. “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.”
While black artists are nominated for awards each year and there are hip hop and R&B categories, only two rap albums — Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” — have ever won album of the year. Combs’ comments drew audible cheers and a standing ovation from some artists present at the gala.
It was yet another criticism sent toward the Grammys after Friday’s reports that Taylor Swift had canceled a surprise performance because of allegations of sexism in the institution. The Grammys are far from the only award show to see criticism similar to Diddy’s — the Academy Awards receive now-yearly claims of sexism and ignoring people of color in their nominations, but that it came on a stage they gave an artist like Diddy made it that much more critical.