Some believe Deborah Dugan was booted because she was trying to "effect change."
Since their inception, award shows have always taken a few hits over their nominations. People criticize decision-makers for excluding artists and creators, accusing them of stifling growth and "white-washing" the ceremonies, and rap icon Chuck D is speaking out against his recent experiences with the Grammys.
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The 62nd annual Grammy Awards are set to take place in Los Angeles at the Staple's Center on January 26, and during the ceremony, Public Enemy is all set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The history between Hip Hop/Rap and the Grammys is a sordid tale, as the genre was initially excluded from airing live on television. Now, Grammy shows are overrun with its influence.
In a lengthy letter he shared on Instagram, Chuck D aired out his grievances with the Grammys after it was announced yesterday that they've suspended their new president, Deborah Dugan. She reportedly only held the position for five months, and while there are rumors that she received the boot due to an "allegation of misconduct by a senior female member," some believe that her quest for change behind-the-scenes proved too much for the status quo. In other words, she rocked the boat and got kicked to the curb.
Chuck D writes:
"Figures… I salute Deborah Dugan for her truth and courage to try and effect change. As always, a bunch of ignorant, testosterone-fueled, usually old white men stop progress and screw it up. Same old bullsh*t. They want to keep it status quo and make sure things like Hip Hop stay the poster child of their f*ckery.
In 1989 we protested the Grammys because they refused to acknowledge a new art form called Hip Hop/Rap. I responded with the lyric, “Who gives a f*ck about a goddamn Grammy.” We fought to be recognized and for things to change. We kicked that door in for others to come through.
After 35 years in this industry, folks should know that I always defer any individual accomplishment, always giving salutes to those before me and trying to open the door for those after me. In agreeing to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award when Deborah called me was no different.
We discussed these issues and what needed to change. Hip Hop can’t be judged by a bunch of old corporate guards who rewrite history to serve their corporate bottom line.
The Public Enemy icon added that he could tell Dugan "was having her own struggles with an academy that thinks Public Enemy ended in 1992 yet want to give us a lifetime achievement award without acknowledging a lifetime of work." Chuck D expressed how difficult it was to work with the Grammys during this time, and offered his suggestions as to why they were giving him the runaround while also attempting to salute Public Enemy's accomplishments. Read his letter in full below.