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On Saturday night, during the 50-minute speech, he demanded change and said he was glad to be involved in making a difference, the Associated Press reports. It earned him a standing ovation from Beyoncé, JAY-Z, and others.
“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.”
Throughout the years, the awards show has been blasted because top acts like Beyoncé, Kanye West, Eminem, Mariah Carey, and others lose in major categories, including album of the year and best new artist. Rap and R&B stars often fail to live up to their pop, rock, and country counterparts.
“In the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘We are artists and we are sensitive about our (expletive).’ 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.”
Rap is known to have an enduring losing streak at the Grammys, which celebrates its 62nd show on Sunday. Only two rap albums have won album of the year: Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Last year was the first time a rap song won song and record of the year, with Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.” And only four rap acts have been named best new artist: Hill, Arrested Development, Chance the Rapper, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
“So right now with 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 around the word,” Combs said. “And for years we’ve allowed institutions that have never had our best interest at heart to judge us. And that stops right now.”
Diddy ended his speech on a serious note: “I’m officially starting the clock—y’all got 365 days to get this (expletive) together.”
The three-time Grammy winner earned the 2020 Grammy Salute to the Industry Icons Award on Saturday night. He devoted the prize to quintessential rap and R&B albums that never won the top Grammy award: Prince’s 1999, Beyoncé‘s Lemonade, Missy Elliott’s Da Real World, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, Kanye West’s Graduation, Nas’ Illmatic, and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall.
Just days ago, the Grammy's voting process was called into question when recently suspended CEO Deborah Dugan alleged that the awards are rigged and that she has “evidence” to back up her claim.