Tyler, the Creator calls out the Grammys’ racial bias

Tyler the Creator just won his first Grammy, but that didn’t stop him from taking umbrage with the Recording Academy’s approach to nominating Black artists.

January 26, 2020
Tyler, the Creator calls out the Grammys’ racial bias Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Tyler, the Creator just won his first ever Grammy award, picking up the Best Rap Album trophy for 2019's excellent IGOR. And while he's grateful for the win, the prolific producer and vocalist also had some pointed and timely words for the Recording Academy in the press room when asked about the Grammys' voting process. "I'm very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this, but also it sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that's genre-bending, or anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category," he told the press room. "I don't like that urban word, it's just a politically correct way to say the N-word to me. When I hear that, I'm just like, why can't we just be in pop? Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment."

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The question was posed to Tyler in the light of recent allegations from outgoing Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan that there was significant gendered and racialized bias internally at the Recording Academy. Many Black artists, including Frank Ocean and Kanye West, have declined to submit records for Grammy nomination in recent years, often implying or suggesting outright that the Grammys refuses to acknowledge powerful or era-defining Black art. Watch Tyler's full response to the question below, and see all the Grammy winners here.

Tyler, the Creator calls out the Grammys’ racial bias