Diddy: ‘Black music has never been respected by the Grammys’

The mogul called for change to recognise black artists often overlooked for the top prizes

SPEAKING OUT: Sean "Diddy" Combs

DIDDY HAS spoken out about the Grammy’s failure to adequately recognise and celebrate black musicians by saying that “black music has never been respected by the Grammys”.

Speaking at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammys gala, Diddy, whose real name is Sean Combs, delivered a passionate speech about the need for change.

In the music mogul’s 50-minute speech, he said: “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,” he 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.

“In the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘We are artists and we are sensitive about our s***.’ We are passionate. For most of us, this is all we got. This is our only hope,” AP reported Diddy said. “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.”

The 50-year-old added: “And for years we’ve allowed institutions that have never had our best interests at heart to judge us.”

His speech received a standing ovation from those in the room, including rapper Jay-Z and producer Swizz Beats.

In the history of the Grammy’s, which will stage its 62nd show today, only two albums with significant rap elements – Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below – have won the album of the year award.

Diddy, a three-time Grammy award winner, said he was giving the Grammy’s one year to “get this s*** together”.

“I’m officially starting the clock. You’ve got 365 days to get this s*** together,” he said. “We need the artists to take back control, we need transparency, we need diversity.”

Diddy, who was delivering his icon award acceptance speech, also used the opportunity to shout out several artists who critics and fans believe have been overlooked over the years by the Grammys. He dedicated his award to Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, Prince’s 1999, Beyoncé‘s Lemonade, Missy Elliott’s Da Real World, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, Kanye West’s Graduation and Nas’ Illmatic, all of which missed out on the album of the year prize.

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