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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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Music

Album Review: Chris Brown releases “Breezy”

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Let me start out by saying, as a member of Team Breezy, Chris Brown simply missed his mark on revisiting his debut sound. This is something he said we could expect from this album. None the less, the album is still nothing short of fire.

23 tracks are included in the standard edition of the album, and it’s giving you nothing short of the Chris Brown experience. Some songs and subjects can come across as repetitive subject matter wise and lack depth, while others are sure fire hits.

Stand out tracks on first listen for me are, Possessive (feat. Lil Wayne & Bleu), Pitch Black, Sex Memories (feat. Ella Mai), Sleep At Night, and Til The Wheels Fall Off (feat. Lil Durk and Capella Grey).

Get into the album below:

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Monica & Brandy Take The Stage

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Monica stopped by Tiny Desk to give a vocal performance of some of her previous hits, as well as a new song titled, “Friends”. Monica has been working on her upcoming album, currently titled “Trenches”, for a few years now. Although the project doesn’t have a release date yet, from the singles we’ve heard in the past, this promises to be a solid body of work. Check out Monica’s performance below.

Brandy stopped by the Colors set to perform her single “Rather Be” from her latest effort B7. Check it out below.

It’s so nice to see that these two 90s divas are still giving impeccable performances

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Oktum Releases Debut EP ‘Tales Of Sunset’

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Oktum is a Hatian born & raised producer who is truly ready to take over House Music with the release of his long awaited debut EP ‘Tales Of Sunset’ which truly has been a labor of love. Now although this is his first music release, he’s definitely not new to music. The talented composer grew up engulfed in music as he listened to his fathers music in Haiti as a celebrated musician playing guitar for the band Les Shleu Shleu. As a kid he would listen to so many different genres of music with some of his inspirations ranging from Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin, Bob Marley to Dr.Dre and Thievery Corporation. As a teen he was introduced to the idea of production with FL Studios but navigating   a promising career in music seemed far fetched while living in Haiti at a time when crime and kidnappings were at an all time high. Oktum would go on to move to the U.S. living in Illinois and in NYC but unfortunately his passion for music didn’t follow him as the years went on. It wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles where he truly felt like he could finally get back into music. In 2019 something clicked and he slowly but surely began to tap back into his sound which has evolved tremendously. As he continued to work on his music the world was rocked by the Corona Virus outbreak but what most would consider a setback was truly the opportunity he needed to focus on his music. Now he is finally ready to embark on this new journey with the release of his debut EP ‘Tales Of Sunset’ which features 5 hard hitting tracks which is sure to get house music lovers on the dance floor. Get into the project below which is just a taste of so much more to come.

‘Musical Ocean’ Visualizer

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