Revolt TV Chairman, Sean “Diddy” Combs, took a stand for hip hop music when he accepted the Salute to Industry Icon Award at the 2020 Pre-Grammy Gala, hosted by Clive Davis and the Recording Academy on Saturday (Jan. 25). The mogul called for respect for hip hop and Black music.
“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, according to Page Six. “This is discrimination and injustice everywhere at an all-time high. But there’s something I need to say to the Grammys and I changed my middle name to love, so it’s Sean Love Combs now… I say this with love to the Grammys because you really need to know this. Every year, y’all be killing us man. I’m talking about the pain. I’m speaking for all the artists here, producers and executives – the amount of time to make these records, to pour your heart out into it… in the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘We are artists and we’re sensitive about our s–t. We are passionate.’”
He continued, “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. And for years, we’ve allowed institutions, that have never had our best interest at heart, to judge us. And that stops right now.”
Combs then gave The Recording Academy a deadline to make some necessary changes, saying, “Y’all got 365 days to get this s–t together… We need the artists to take back control. We need transparency. We need diversity. This is the room that has the power to make the change. It needs to be made. They have to make the changes for us. They’re a nonprofit organization that’s supposed to protect the welfare of the musical community. That’s what it says on the mission statement. That’s the truth. They work for us.”
Diddy added, “We have the power. We decide what’s hot. If we don’t go, nobody goes. If we don’t support, nobody supports. We control what’s cool, we control what’s hot. We control what your kids listen to, what they dance to, we control what’s a video game, we control how they wear their pants, sag their pants…we control everything.”
Check out Sean “Diddy” Combs’ speech and more from the Pre-Grammy gala below.