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
Julian King brings the heat with ‘Can We Go Back’
Triple Threat singer/songwriter/dancer Julian King has been known to wow audiences over the years as one hell of a performer , so it should come as no surprise why we’re featuring him today. The Philly native has had quite the few years in the spotlight after making noise on season 16 of the hit NBC series ‘The Voice’. His standout performances definitely made him a fan favorite and although he didn’t win the show, what he got out of the experience was just as rewarding. The show proved that Julian has nothing but star power and his gift will continue to make room for him whenever he shares it. In the past two years he dropped two critically acclaimed projects ‘Made In China’ in 2019 and ‘TakeOut’ in 2020 and this was just only the beginning of what he has in store for the world. This pandemic might have set things back for most of the world but it only has fueled him to get back in the studio and create some of his best work yet. During quarantine his experience with love and the loss of it became the subject of song which is what true artistry is all about. He teamed up with producers Dirty Harry & Robert ‘Biz’ Thomas for this emotional ballad which is sure to connect with anyone who has been in a relationship which suddenly goes wrong. The performance clip shows a different side of Julian as a performer as he gives his audience an intimate look at love between two men in the most vulnerable way as an artist as he shares just a piece of what he personally experienced during quarantine. Get into the must see video as he continues to take his artistry to the next level on his own terms.
Follow Julian King online at @itsJulianKing
Didi J is back with ‘ Cover Girl ‘ with help from Iggy Azalea & more
International pop singer/ designer Didi J is back and better than ever with the release of her long awaited debut EP ‘Cover Girl’. It’s been a few years since we last heard from the European star who made waves with her last two singles ‘ Say No More ‘ and ‘ I’m Sorry , but bows she’s ready to take over the world with her latest project. The now mother who took some time off to bring her precious baby girl into the world during the pandemic never stopped working as she quietly gave birth last year. She slowly but surely got back into the studio to cook some records up and now we have a full project which features her latest single ‘Flashing Lights’. The pop singer shot the Eif Rivera directed clip this summer in Miami with NBA star / rapper Drummxnd which has just arrived in time to heat things up this winter. Check out the video , then get into her EP which also features appearances from rap superstar Iggy Azalea on the track ‘Murcielago’ as well as Azia and She Real now available on all music streaming platforms.
Drake Withdraws From The Grammys
Well well, it looks like Drake has chosen to not have his music nominated for Grammys. According to PopCrave, there isn’t any word on why he has made this decision to have his 2 nominations removed.
From my perspective, being that the news broke today, the last day of voting, he may have got the feeling that he wasn’t going to win. Drake dragged this album out over the whole year, only for the album to produce mid level songs. Did it make Billboard history? Sure. But was the quality of music up to par with today’s hottest rap music? Not even close.
Nice beats, and catchy rhymes can only get you so far in the Rap industry. Even the GOATs had to change up their formula after a while, and I think it’s about time for Drake to do the same.
12.03 – Mary J Blige – Amazing (single)
12.10 – Alicia Keys – KEYS
12.17 – Roddy Ricch – livelifefast
TBA – Cardi B – TBA
TBA – Monica – Chapter 38
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