Tyler, The Creator Calls Out The Grammys On Its Racism

by : Lucy Connolly on : 27 Jan 2020 10:08
Tyler, The Creator Calls Out The Grammys On Their RacismTyler, The Creator Calls Out The Grammys On Their RacismPA Images

Tyler, The Creator has called out the Grammys for its treatment of black artists after accepting his award for Best Rap Album.


After winning his first Grammy award for IGOR and delivering a moving speech about how he ‘never felt fully accepted in rap’, Tyler – full name Tyler Gregory Okonma – was asked how he felt about the voting process.

The artist got candid with his response, making reference to the racial bias that exists within the voting process and referring to his nomination as a ‘backhanded compliment’.

You can watch his press room interview in full below:


During the video, the 28-year-old said he was ‘half and half’ on how he felt about the process, stating: ‘On one side I’m very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this.’

He continued:

But also 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.

So 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.

But another part of me is very grateful that the art that I made could be acknowledged on a level like this when I don’t do the radio stuff. I’m not played in Target. I’m in a whole different world than what a lot of people here listen to.

Tyler, The CreatorTyler, The CreatorPA Images

The question was posed to Tyler in the light of recent allegations that significant gender and racial bias exists internally at the Recording Academy.

Former Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan made the allegations in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on January 21, less than a week after she was placed on administrative leave.

The complaint accused the Academy of retaliation and voting irregularities, shedding light on the Grammys’ gender imbalance and the music industry’s issues of inequality as a whole. However, in a public statement, the Academy accused Dugan of creating an ‘abusive and bullying’ environment.

Many black artists, including Frank Ocean and Kanye West, have declined to submit records for nomination in recent years, often implying the Grammys refuses to acknowledge powerful black artists.

Kanye West Says He's Running For President In 2024Kanye West Says He's Running For President In 2024PA Images

Tyler’s fans rushed to social media to agree with him, thanking him for shedding light on an issue that has been hovering in the background for years.

One person applauded the artist for speaking up about racism, all the while ‘knowing if he did that he probably never getting nominated again’, while another simply called him ‘a king’.

Another said his comments were ‘1000% spot on’, while one Twitter user wrote: ‘Tyler, the creator calling out the racist behaviour of the Grammys despite being a winner is pure class. The racism needs to end in these award shows.’

Congratulations to Tyler on his first Grammy win, and for speaking up for something so important when he could have just celebrated his own (well-earned) achievement and left it at that.

What a guy.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Music, Award Ceremonys, Racism, Sound, The Creator, The Grammy Awards, The Grammys, Tyler


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