This is what was supposed to be my highlight moment of last week. Being quite a few years removed from the biggest night in music being shrouded in a dark cloud, as one of the greatest vocals ever committed to tape, Whitney Houston, passed away before one night before the 2012 Grammy Awards. To take away some of the sting, Whitney Houston was named one of the inductees into the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Joining Houston in the 2020 class is Brooklyn rhyme slinger, Christopher Wallace known as the Notorious BIG. The 35th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Klipsch Audio, will take place on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. The bright outlook for that event is put on the back burner as the 2020 Grammy Salute to Industry Icon awards managed to become the most poignant event of the Grammy Award weekend as the speech by recipient, Sean “Diddy, Love” Combs fired a shot that could change the complexion of the music industry here forth. Combs opined, “I say this with love to the Grammys cuz y’all really need to know this. Man, every year, y’all be killing us. I’m talking about the pain (I’m speaking for all the artists here, the producers, the executives.) The amount of time that it takes to make these records, to pour your heart out into it and we just want an even playing field. In the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘We are artists and we are sensitive about our sh*t.’ We are passionate. For most of us, this is all we’ve got. This is our only hope,” he continued.
“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; this current situation is not a revelation. This thing been going on, not just music, but in film, sports and across the world. For years we’ve allowed institutions that never had our best interest at heart to judge us. But that stops right now! I’m about to set the clock…You’ve got 365 days to get this s— together.”
He later laid out a few of the moves needed before the change begins. “We need artists taking back control, we need transparency, and we need diversity. This is the room that has the power to make changes that need to be made. They’re a non-profit organization that’s supposed to protect the welfare of the music community,” as per the mission statement of the Recording Academy Combs cites.
Combs concludes, “My goal used to be about making hit records. Now it’s about moving, insuring that our culture moves forward. My culture, our culture, Black culture. We have the power. If we don’t go, nobody goes. If we don’t support, nobody supports. We control what’s cool, we control what’s hot. For me to be worthy of the Icon Award, I have to use my experience to help bring about change.”
Strong words or rhetoric? Are we truly ready to do ALL that is necessary to bring forth the changes he outlines here, especially if we are of the belief that art imitates life? Life for us right now just might be a reflection of what the music is and the music for the most part is…
I’ll hold that until later in the year because hope still springs eternal.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.