Why Tyler, the Creator Felt Conflicted About His First Grammy Win

On Jan. 26, Tyler, the Creator won his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. He won the award for his album IGOR. While Tyler was grateful for his first Grammy win, he acknowledged that he also felt conflicted about it.

Tyler, the Creator Grammy
Tyler the Creator | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Tyler, the Creator was asked about the Grammy voting process

After Tyler won the award for Best Rap Album, he answered questions from the press. One reporter brought up the recent allegations launched at the Recording Academy about a rigged voting process.

“In recent days, there’s been a lot of news about the voting process at the Grammys. Has any of that affected the way that you’re looking at winning this award today?” A reporter asked Tyler.

“I’m half and half on it,” he said. “On one side I am very grateful that what I made could just be, you know, 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.”

Tyler, the Creator called out the Grammy Awards

Tyler went on to point out the racism and political correctness behind the word “urban.”

“Which is, and I don’t like that urban word. It’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said. “So when I hear that, I’m just like why can’t we just be in pop?”

At the end of his answer, Tyler again acknowledged that half of him struggled with the bigger meaning behind his win.

“I felt like… half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment,” he said.

What are the allegations against the Grammy Awards?

On Jan. 23, former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan appeared on Good Morning AmericaCBS This Morning, and NBC Nightly News. On CBS This Morning, Dugan said the voting process for the Grammy Awards was rigged.

“In that room, not only are there trustees that have conflict of interests on particular artists that are nominated, but, more importantly, there are even artists that are nominated that are in the room. So for me, that’s just a blatant conflict of interest,” Dugan said. “There’s a system of taking care of their own. I’ll say that it’s mostly white males that are in those rooms that make these decisions.”

“So rigged is the term you would apply to it?” Dugan was asked.

“Yes, it is,” she said.

The Recording Academy brought in a diversity Task Force

In May 2018, Tina Tchen and 18 others created the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. The Task Force reported its findings on Dec. 12, 2019. The 47-page Final Report can be found on the Recording Academy’s website.

The report stated that the committees in charge of the Grammy Awards did not represent diverse demographics.

“However, despite the indisputable importance of these committees, they have historically not included members that reflect the demographics of society at large,” read the report.

The Task Force also discovered there are several obstacles in the music industry and Recording Academy that marginalize ethnicities. The findings echoed what Tyler told the press after his Grammy win.

The report read, “During the listening sessions, the Task Force heard consistent testimony from music industry professionals concerning the marginalization of certain ethnicities into specific roles or music genres, such as Asian-American artists being pressured into K-Pop and African-American executives only being present in the rap and hip-hop fields.”