Sean “Diddy” Combs speaks onstage during the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and #GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean “Diddy” Combs on January 25, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
When hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs received the Industry Icon Honor at #CliveDavis’s annual pre-Grammy gala Saturday night, he delivered an epic, engaging, 45-minute speech that chronicled his entire career, starting from the moment he received the life-changing Christmas present of a record player at age 5. But he also used his time at the podium to address the “elephant in the room,” calling for more diversity at the Grammys and challenging the Record Academy: “You’ve got 365 days to get this s*** together.” “The last few days I’ve been conflicted,” Combs confessed to the A-list crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “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. There’s discrimination and injustice everywhere all the time. But there’s something I need to say to the Grammys. … I say this with love to the Grammys, because you really need to know this. Every year, y’all be killing us, man. I’m talking about the pain. I’m speaking for all the artists here, producers, executives. The amount of time that it takes to make these records, to pour your heart out into it — and you just want an even playing field. In the great words of #ErykahBadu: ‘We are artists, and we are sensitive about our s***.’ We are passionate. For most of us, this is all we got. This is our only hope.
“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,” Diddy continued. “So right now with this current [Dugan] situation, it’s not a revelation; this thing’s been going on. And it’s not just going on in music; it’s going on in films, it’s going on in sports, it’s going on around the world. And for years, we have allowed institutions that have never had our best interests at heart to judge us. And that stops right now. I’m officially starting the clock.
Video: Diddy’s Instagram