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Tyler, The Creator Calls Out The Grammys On Its Racism

By: TCF! Staff | On: January 27, 2020

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’.


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.


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.
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