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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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Culture

Kid Ape is a true Artist

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Jamil Charles more known as Kid Ape is a highly in demand artist who paints some of the finest portraits and murals. The Miami native has truly made his mark on the art world and is clearly enjoying the ride as he continues to develop his craft as an artist and cultural creator. As a kid he loved to draw and sketch but he never knew how far his love for art will take him all over. Though for a while he gave up his passion for art while in college and his career in the corporate world, but after years of testing his creativity he decided to unlock a different side of his artistry as a writer. He slowly but surely put together multiple short stories which he then turned into a fiction novel titled ‘Red Art City‘. With the success of his novel he knew it was time to tap back into his gift of drawing and within in time he was back to making portraits  and painting murals which caught the attention of many after he gifted Chris Cunningham his own special portrait.  He then met his business partner Eli Massillon who helped to keep him booked as an artist with commissioned portraits for Snoop Dogg,  Grandmaster Flash, Steve Lobel and Don Benjamin. If that wasn’t enough , many clients requested for him to do murals in their spaces which continued to further his brand with his one of a kind pieces that surely keep him in demand.

Follow Kid Ape on social media at @RealKidApe and make sure to check out his work via his website www.RedArtCity.com

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Music

LosLauren 718 Premieres ‘ Hold On (Grip) ‘

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Rapper LosLauren 718 has had one of hell of a year so it only makes sense that he continues to bring his A Game with the release of his new single ‘Hold On (Grip)‘. The Bronx,NY native has mad major waves over the last decade with critically acclaimed projects which were featured on notable platforms  such as  ThisIs50 , The Source , VIBE , All Hip Hop , Vlad TV , Hip Hop DX , WorldStar , MusicXclusives , Trueexclusives and more.  Now of course it makes sense why he would be featured being that he worked with the likes of some music finest producers including J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League , Just Blaze , Ty Fyffe , QB DaProblem and Mystro & Pizzi.  Over the last year he dropped not one but two buzzed about projects ‘Allergic to Failure’ & ‘Blue Roses’ which are still in heavy rotation at this very moment. Now some would think that’s normal but he released both projects within a years time as an indie artist during the Covid-19 pandemic which stopped so many things from happening in support of his project.  Now most would of delayed their projects but Los chose to release his music regardless and delivered two solid projects while facing something even more personal. The rising rap star was diagnosed with Cancer in 2020 and when most people would fold he chose to fight it and beat the odd and came out swinging and returned right back to his music as if nothing even happened. That’s in itself is just proof that real artist can never be stopped no matter what their circumstances may be. Now as he continues to work on his next project entitled ‘Addicted To Success’ , he teamed up with producer Skev Beats to drop his latest single just to heat things up real quick. Watch the premiere of his self directed video for ‘ Hold On (Grip)’ which is sure to be in heavy rotation.

Keep up to date with LosLauren 718 on all social media platforms at @LosLauren718 and cop all his past projects out now on all music streaming platforms.

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Music

Anisa Fowler ‘ You Reign ‘

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Rising star Anisa Fowler is creating a buzz for herself with the release of her current single ‘You Reign’. In less than a year this gospel powerhouse has truly made a name for herself with a growing fanbase who is ready for her long awaited debut EP. The Queens,NY native who earliest memory of singing was in church truly put in work to get to this moment and this is still just the beginning of her journey. She teamed up with songwriter/producer Josh Arnoux on her latest record which is also on his indie label RNU Records. As his premiere artist he’s truly putting his all into his fellow LaGuardia HS classmate. The two who have been friends for over 20 years and even performed in the group ‘Gods Plan‘ for a period of time knew that they were onto something after the release of ‘You Reign’ and it very clear that they had something special on their hands. Releasing material during a pandemic and trying to promote it , isn’t an easy feat for anyone but Anisa has truly found a way to spread her gift of ministry in song as she traveled to perform at different showcases and conferences where she made a huge impact on the different crowds. Anisa is full proof that sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a step out on faith where God will continuously guide you to  share you gift with the masses. Check out her soul stirring performance clip which is sure to be in heavy rotation.

Follow Anisa Fowler on social media at @AnisaWorships

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