DJ Khaled is showing his support for fellow rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs.
After accepting the Grammy Award on Sunday night for his “Higher” collaboration with John Legend and the late Nipsey Hussle, Khaled addresses Combs’ comments regarding the Recording Academy’s recent controversy the night prior.
“That’s why I made sure I said this is for hip hop,” Khaled, 44, told reporters in the press room following his win. “We always have to do better. Every day we’re supposed to get better and grow and learn.”
“What Puff was saying is, ‘Let’s do better. Let’s put more love out there. For everybody. We just want ours too. That’s it,’” he added. “This is for hip hop. This is for Nipsey Hussle.”
At the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday night, Combs, 50, accepted the Clive Davis Icon award and addressed the controversy surrounding the Recording Academy’s ousted CEO and President Deborah Dugan, who recently claimed the nomination system for the award show is rigged.
“There’s something I need to say to the Grammys,” he said towards the end of his passionate speech. “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. The amount of time it takes to make these records. To pour your heart out into it. Like Erykah Badu said, we are artists and we are sensitive about our s—. For most of us this is all we got, this is all,” 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. So right now, this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on.”
As his speech went on, Combs encouraged artists to “take back control,” instead of letting an award show dictate what success in the industry looks like.
“For years we’ve allowed institutions that have never had our best interest to judge us and that stops right now. I’m officially starting a clock. Y’all got 365 days to get this s— together. We need the artists to take back control. We need diversity,” Diddy said. “They’re a nonprofit organization that is supposed to protect the welfare of the music industry. That’s what it says on the mission statement. That’s the truth. They work for us. If we don’t go, nobody goes.”
“We control what’s cool. We control what’s hot. We control what your kids dance to. We control everything. Now we’re not gonna solve this tonight but it’s gonna take all of us to get this done. It’s gonna take the artists and the executives to recognize their power,” he added. “I’m not here to bash y’all. I’m here for the artists, so sign me up. I’m here to help make a difference and help make a positive outcome and I believe all my brothers and sisters out there will be able to get this right.”
Continuing, Diddy said: “My goal used to be about making hit records. Now it’s about ensuring that the culture moves forward. My culture. Our culture. The black culture and for me to be worthy of receiving an Icon Award, I have to use my experience to help make a change. Y’all got 365 days.”
On Sunday morning, just hours before the awards show, the Recording Academy announced several new diversity initiatives. The new initiatives include hiring a dedicated Diversity & Inclusion Officer and establishing an Academy-funded fellowship that will review and report on their progress.
“It’s been a challenging week for our Academy family. I’ve heard from many of you who feel betrayed and hurt by the untruths being spread about our motives and actions, the integrity of our process and the artists who’ve rightfully earned their GRAMMY Nominations, and the reminders of the hard truths we do have to face as a community,” Harvey Mason Jr., Chairman and Interim CEO of the Recording Academy said in a statement.
In the formal complaint that she filed, Dugan, who was placed on administrative leave earlier this month, alleged that some musicians did not get Grammy nominations due to favoritism and “conflicts of interest.” These allegations have been condemned as “categorically false” by the Recording Academy.
“Spurious allegations claiming members or committees use our process to push forward nominations for artists they have relationships with are categorically false, misleading and wrong. This process is strictly enforced with everyone involved and has no exceptions,” Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy’s chief awards officer, said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“We remain fully committed to the integrity, transparency and robustness of the awards and look forward with excitement to celebrating the artists who deservingly receive them,” the statement added. “We are acutely aware that many artists have worked a lifetime for this moment at music’s biggest night and it is them we want to focus on when we celebrate this weekend.”