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Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean “Diddy” Combs

“I’m being honored by the industry that I love, the family that I love, but there’s an elephant in the room and it’s not just about the Grammys,” Combs said well into a lengthy speech at the end of the party. “There’s discrimination and injustice everywhere.”

“Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys,” he continued. “Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be.” He said the current situation isn’t a revelation, nor is it an issue just in music.

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Sean “Diddy” Combs, winner of the Industry Icon award at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy Gala, challenged the industry to get its act together in the next year when it comes to diversity.

“I’m being honored by the industry that I love, the family that I love, but there’s an elephant in the room and it’s not just about the Grammys,” Combs said well into a lengthy speech at the end of the party. “There’s discrimination and injustice everywhere.”

“Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys,” he continued. “Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be.” He said the current situation isn’t a revelation, nor is it an issue just in music.

“For years we’ve allowed institutions that have never had our best interests at heart to judge us and that stops right now,” he said to thunderous applause.

He continued: “We need the artists to take back the control. We need transparency. We need diversity. This is the room that has the power to make the change that needs to be made. They have to make the changes for us.”

Combs clarified he’s not intending to simply bash the Recording Academy – but that he’s here to help make a difference and a positive outcome.

He dedicated his award to Michael Jackson for “Off the Wall,” Prince for “1999,” Beyoncé for “Lemonade,” Missy Elliott for “Da Real World,” Snoop Dogg for “Doggystyle,” Kanye West for “Gradation” and Nas for “Illmatic.”

During his speech, Diddy also thanked a swath of people, including Jay-Z and Beyoncé (he calls her “King Beyoncé”), Swiss Beatz, Nas and Quincy Jones.

Combs’ remarks about the Grammys come on the heels of other drama facing the Academy: Ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan recently said she has “evidence” that the Grammy Awards process is “ripe with corruption.”

With only days until the award show, Dugan filed an explosive discrimination complaint against the academy Tuesday alleging unlawful gender discrimination, sexual harassment, unlawful retaliation and unequal pay.

The Recording Academy stated Dugan’s allegations about the voting processes are “utterly untrue,” adding the academy has “rigorous and well-publicized” protocols for ensuring fair voting.

Diddy also took time to acknowledge his family and his former girlfriend, actress and model Kim Porter, who died in November 2018 of pneumonia. “I met Kim Porter ’cause Kim was the receptionist at Uptown. So that’s how far back we go,” Diddy said.

Diddy has regularly opened up about her sudden death.

Just this week, he posted a picture of Porter on Instagram with a powerful caption. “If you got a good woman please let her know,” the caption reads. “Tell her as soon as you can. Make sure she knows.”

While Combs’ speech took a (necessarily) serious turn, the night wasn’t without its stunning musical moments. For example: Cyndi Lauper, barefoot, dueted with Brandi Carlisle on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,”; Broadway star Adrienne Warren’s “Simply the Best,” was just that, as was Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo’s homage to (in the audience!) Janet Jackson; and Faith Evans, Li’l Kim and Combs’ son Christian “King” Combs helped pay tribute to Diddy himself.

Davis – a man with a penchant for giving shout-outs to those who attend his annual event – called out returning guest Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Cardi B and Offset and Lana Del Ray, among (many, many) others.

As for other celebrity sightings: Among the crowd, Avril Lavigne and Paula Abdul chatted and embraced, Trevor Noah and Billy Porter posed for a photo and Broadway’s Darren Criss and Warren hugged. On the red carpet before the show, Jessie J and Channing Tatum held hands.

Buzzy Grammy nominees not in attendance included Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X (though his “Old Town Road” duet partner Billy Ray Cyrus was there).

Contributing: Maria Puente, Andrea Mandell and Sara Moniuszko, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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Celebs

Timbaland & Swizz Beatz Sue Triller, Claiming $28M Never Paid From ‘Verzuz’ Sale

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The TikTok rival bought the popular livestream show last year, but its founders now say Triller still owes them tens of millions.

BY BILL DONAHUE (Billboard)

Eighteen months after Timbaland and Swizz Beatz sold their popular Verzuz livestream series to Triller, the two are now suing the social media platform for allegedly failing to pay them a whopping $28 million that they’re still owed from the deal.

Triller, a TikTok-like service that allows users to create and share short videos, announced in March 2021 that it would pay an undisclosed sum in cash and equity to acquire Verzuz – a breakout hit during the pandemic in which two artists square off in a livestreamed music battle.

But in a lawsuit filed Tuesday (Aug. 16) in Los Angeles Superior Court, Timbaland (Timothy Mosley) and Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Daoud Dean) say Triller has failed to actually pay for the company it purchased. After initial payments last year and early this year, the pair of hitmakers say the company has refused to hand over more than $28 million that they’re still owed.

“Defendants have failed and refused to respond to plaintiffs’ written notice and demand for payment,” the pair’s lawyers wrote in the complaint. “To date, defendants have failed and refused to make any payment to Mosley and Dean of the past due sums due and owing, and defendants continue in default of their payment obligations.”

A representative for Triller did not immediately return a request for comment from Billboard.

Timbaland and Swizz Beatz launched Verzuz in March 2020, just days after the global shut-down from the COVID-19 pandemic, and it took off as peak quarantine entertainment – a virtual music battle between top artists, livestreamed to millions of users on Instagram and other platforms. Since the pair of producers squared off in the inaugural show, Verzuz has featured high-profile showdowns between T-Pain and Lil Jon, Alicia Keys and John Legend, DMX and Snoop Dogg, Brandy and Monica, and many other top names, often drawing millions of viewers.

After launching in 2015, Triller rose to prominence in 2020 as a competitor to TikTok when the Trump administration said it was considering banning the popular social media service from the U.S. market over its ties to the Chinese government. Triller — whose investors include Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd and Marshmello — made aggressive moves to compete with TikTok by courting influencers to the platform, but also experienced serious hiccups. Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, pulled its catalog from the platform in February 2021 over royalty issues before eventually resolving the matter and restoring the songs a few months later. The service also admitted to — and then denied — inflating user numbers just weeks before it was expected to go public as part of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger.

The SPAC merger didn’t happen, but recently Triller has been making another play to go public — meaning the Verzuz lawsuit is coming at a particularly bad time. After calling off a $5 billion proposed merger with video-tech company SeaChange International in June, the company submitted paperwork to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.

According to Wednesday’s lawsuit, under the terms of Triller’s deal to buy Verzuz, the first cash payments to Timbaland and Swizz Beatz were due January 2021 and April 2021 – both of which Triller successfully made. But when another payment was due in January 2022, the producers say the company failed to pay.

The two sides quickly reached a settlement to avert a dispute by agreeing to a new payment plan, the suit says, and Triller made the first payment under that new agreement in February. But the settlement agreement required Triller to pay another $18 million by March 17, plus $1 million more per month for another 10 months – and Timbaland and Swizz Beatz say those payments have never been made.

“The aforesaid defaults constitute material breaches of the agreement by defendants,” the pair’s lawyers wrote. “By reason of defendants’ continuing uncured defaults, the sum of $28,095,000.00 is immediately due to be paid under the agreement.”

The lawsuit from Timbaland and Swizz Beatz isn’t the first time this year Triller has been accused of not paying its bills. In June, boxing reporter Dan Rafael reported that Triller had not fully paid several fighters from a May 2022 bout. And earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that Triller had a spotty history of paying Black influencers that had been recruited to join the platform; the company strongly denied those allegations.

It’s also not the first sign of tension between Timbaland/Swizz Beatz and Triller. Back in February, Verzuz faced backlash when it was announced that the latest battle would be exclusively aired on Triller’s $2.99-per-month premium service. Later in the day, Swizz Beatz assured fans that the show would still be available on Instagram and other free platforms: “I was out of the country don’t ask me who did it,” he wrote with a laughing emoji. “It’s fixed.”

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The Party at “Club Renaissance”

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In celebration of Beyonce’s latest album, “Renaissance”, she through a very private party full of industry elites. Reports say that guests were asked to be tested for COVID the day of the party. They were also asked not to take photos or videos inside the party. It was very, ‘what happens here, stays here‘.

Donald Glover, Janelle Monae, Jill Scott, Leonardo Dicaprio, Kendrick Lamar, Dapper Dan, Matthew Knowles, Yara Shahidi, Questlove, Journey Smollett, Tyler Perry, Telfar Clemens, Beyoncé Knowles-Lawson, Richard Lawson, Lala Anthony, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Chloe Bailey, Trevor Noah, The Dream, Marni Senofonte, Normani , Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Williams, Lena Waithe & Snoh Aalegra all attend Beyonce’s Renaissance release party at The Edition hotel in Time Square.

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Music

Jayye Michael Premieres ‘ Never Be ‘

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Jayye Michael is truly a star on the rise who is slowly but surely making a name for himself in music. The Virginia native has been making some noise over the last few years as an social media butterfly with his viral TikTok videos and entertaining vlogs via his YouTube Channel. Now some of you might recognize him from some of those videos which featured his mother Coko the legendary lead singer of SWV, but there’s so much more to this triple threat who is ready to embark on his own career in entertainment. Growing up as a kid in a musical family, it was almost impossible for him not to be engulfed in music. So of course he started out singing in church like many of the greats but after not being able to fully showcase his voice as a singer he decided to pull back from singing with the Praise Team.

Now although he was a shy kid growing up, his personality always shined through which became more and more evident of his star power via his social media channels. As he slowly but surely continued to grow a fan base, many wondered if he would ever take singing serious after a few clips of him singing went viral. Most notably his appearance singing alongside his mom as millions watched him perform during the SWV & Xscape Verzuz. With all this new attention Jayye still had other plans in mind like modeling and further his education among other things. So as he set his sites on attending college across the country in Vegas, his growing fan base would have to wait just a little longer for the chance to hear from him.

Within time it was clear that Jayye truly wanted to give his all to music, so with the blessings of his family he returned home to do just that. The triple threat wasted no time working on his music and teaming up with producer Mykal Curtis for what is sure to be one hell of a debut project. He gave fans just a taste of what’s to come as he hit the stage at Portsmouth Pride for his first ever major performance of his single ‘Never Be’. The crowd immediately took to the rising star as he showcased his vocals and dancing skills like only a seasoned performer could. The support of his loved ones, growing fan base and the LGBTQ community proved to be the push he needed to go full steam ahead. Now he’s here with the release of his debut single which is sure to give true r&b lovers everything they’ve been missing. Listen to & download ‘Never Be’ as he gears up to release his highly anticipated debut project.

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