Sean “Diddy” Combs was honored in Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday as the 2020 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons honoree, and during his speech he criticized the Recording Academy.
The criticism came toward the end of his 40-minute acceptance speech, with Combs saying the Recording Academy hasn’t truly supported hip-hop or black music.
“I say this with love to the Grammys, because you really need to know this,” said Combs in front of a celebrity-filled crowd that included Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Cardi B and Migos. “Every year y’all be killing us, man … 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 with this current situation, it’s not a revelation,” continued the Bad Boy boss who changed his middle name to Love recently. “This thing’s 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 interests at heart to judge us. And that stops right now.”
The “Press Play” artist then told the Grammys they have “365 days to get this sh– together” and encouraged the artists in the room to regain control of the Grammy selection process.
Combs also called for transparency as well as diversity and said everyone who was at the event has the necessary power to shift things.
“They’re a non-profit 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,” Combs explained.
“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,” he added.
Combs also talked about what his primary aim is when he releases music these days.
“My goal used to be about making hit records. Now it’s about ensuring that the culture moves forward,” he stated. “My culture. Our culture. The black culture. And for me to be worthy of receiving an icon award, I have to use my experience to help to make a change.”
Many reacted to Combs’ speech and said they couldn’t agree more with what he said about the Grammys not respecting hip-hop music and black music in general.
“I respect this man now for what he’s aspiring to do for the culture 💓,” one person wrote on Instagram.
But others saw it differently and said black artists should stop seeking acknowledgment from the Grammy voting committee altogether.
“We shouldn’t still be begging for inclusion in 2020. We need to support our own awards,” wrote one Instagram user.