Sean “Diddy” Combs had the full support of his family on Saturday night as he was honored at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala.
Before taking to the stage to give an impassioned speech on diversity while accepting the Clive Davis Icon award, the 50-year-old music mogul walked the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, alongside his six children, wearing a dark patterned suit over a black T-shirt and a pair of silver chain necklaces.
Combs’ three sons went glam with their suits to match their dapper dad, with both Christian Combs, 21, and Quincy Brown, 28, rocking metallic shades of gold (Christian) and sequined black by Malan Breton (Quincy). Justin Combs, 26, posed in front of the group, wearing an emerald-green getup with his arms stretched wide.
The girls, meanwhile, all sported various shades of pink, with 13-year-old twins D’Lila Star and Jessie James in coordinating long hot-pink gowns. Their sister Chance, also 13, wore a shorter dress in a similar color, with a large orange flower covering the top portion.
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During his acceptance speech on Saturday, Combs addressed the controversy surrounding the Recording Academy’s ousted CEO and President Deborah Dugan, who has claimed the nomination system for the award show is rigged.
“There’s something I need to say to the Grammys,” he said toward the end of his passionate oration. “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.”
“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,” he continued.
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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,” he 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.”
“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,” Combs 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, he 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, which include hiring a dedicated Diversity & Inclusion Officer and establishing an Academy-funded fellowship that will review and report on their progress.
“The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole,” Recording Academy Chairman and Interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement. “Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists — in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion.”
The 62nd Grammy Awards aired live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.