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Jay-Z Takes the Grammys to Task in Awards Speech

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Jay-Z pointed out the recording academy’s snubs of Black artists, including Beyoncé, while accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. “We want you to get it right — at least get it close to right,” he said.

During a speech at the Grammys on Sunday, Jay-Z criticized the awards show for what he described as its snubs and inconsistencies in giving out honors to Black artists, pointing out that his wife, Beyoncé, has the most Grammys but has never won for album of the year.

“Even by your own metrics it doesn’t work,” he said.

He added, “We want you to get it right — at least get it close to right.”

Jay-Z also referred to Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s boycott of the 1989 Grammys because the rap category was not televised at the time. He noted that he had boycotted the show when DMX released two No. 1 albums but was not nominated.

“Some of you may get robbed,” he said, adding, “Some of you don’t belong in the category.”

He also conceded that the process of awarding Grammys is subjective. “It’s music and it’s opinion based,” he said.

Jay-Z made the remarks during his acceptance speech for the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, which recognizes personal and professional achievements in the music industry.

Through his record label, Roc Nation, Jay-Z has advocated social justice causes, particularly for racial equality in the United States. In 2022, he convened an inaugural summit for social justice leaders to meet in New York to raise awareness about racial justice and policy.

He has also served as an executive producer on two docuseries about the killings of Black Americans: “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” and “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.” When George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police in 2020, Jay-Z, through Roc Nation, took out full-page ads in major newspapers that quoted a passage from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 speech in Selma, Ala.

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