Tyler, The Creator calls out the Grammys for marginalizing Black artists by defining them as “urban” in music categories.
It’s no secret that the Grammys, like the Oscars, are missing the mark when it comes to diversity and inclusion. It’s also no secret that artists of color are tired of award shows neglecting the talent within communities of color, and Tyler, The Creator, is letting it be known. Last night, the 28-year-old received a Grammy for Best Rap Album for his 2019 project “IGOR.” During questioning in the media room, Los Angeles native took the opportunity to call out the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for continually and internationally putting “guys that look like me” in the rap and urban categories.
Tyler said that while he is grateful for his Grammy win, winning Best Rap album for an album that isn’t rap is a “backhanded compliment.” “It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending, or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said.
He also said that the Grammys mistreats Black artists and mentioned that he wants to be recognized on a mainstream level and not be restrained to “urban” categories. “When I hear that, I’m just like why can’t we be in pop? Half of me feels like the rap nomination was just a backhanded compliment. Like, my little cousin wants to play the game. Let’s give him the unplugged controller so he can shut up and feel good about it — that’s what it felt like a bit.”
Along with Tyler, Diddy also called out the Grammys at #CliveDavis’ annual pre-Grammy party, saying the Recording Academy has never respected Black artists, CNN reports. “Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be. So, right now, in this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on, and it’s not just going on in music. It’s going on in film. It’s going on in sports, It’s going on around the world,” he said. Other artists like #KanyeWest and #FrankOcean have boycotted the awards for this very same issue.