Photo: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
"Black Music Saved The World": How The Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective Celebrated Positive Change For The Culture & Community
The Black Music Collective's inaugural event celebrated the past, present and future achievements of Black music and embodied the Recording Academy's ongoing work to celebrate and advance Black music and its creators and professionals across the industry.
When it comes to music and culture, constant evolutions and unique developments from Black artists have challenged and pushed conventionality into a place of many groundbreaking firsts.
From Megan Thee Stallion, the first woman rapper to perform at the Oscars, to Cardi B, the first solo female rapper to win the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album, to Mickey Guyton, the first Black female solo artist to be nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Country Solo Performance category — a host of impactful changes has been slowly yet surely bubbling up to the surface.
These cultural progressions run in parallel to the work being done by the Black Music Collective (BMC), a group of prominent Black music creators and professionals dedicated to amplifying Black voices within the Recording Academy and the wider music community, while also serving as the strong currents driving this sea change.
On Saturday, April 2, the night before the 2022 GRAMMYs, at Resorts World Las Vegas, the BMC hosted the Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective, an official GRAMMY Week 2022 event and the inaugural Black Music Collective in-person event. The newly minted, must-attend gala — sponsored by Binance, IBM, Mastercard, Hilton, GREY GOOSE Vodka, and Amazon Music — honored legendary artists like Jimmy Jam, MC Lyte, D-Nice, and the founders of the Black-founded, health-focused record label Love Renaissance (LVRN). The event also featured performances from Chlöe Bailey, Jimmie Allen, Cordae, Muni Long, and Summer Walker, who each took the house on an emotional roller-coaster ride of body-moving grooves; Adam Blackstone served as the event's musical director.
This powerful celebration of Black music and entertainment also welcomed industry execs like LVRN Records executive vice president/general manager and LVRN Management partner Amber Grimes; 300 Entertainment co-founder and CEO Kevin Liles; Universal Music Group senior director of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging and former Co-Founder & Executive Sponsor of the BMC Jeriel Johnson; and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr.
Celebrating the past, present and future achievements within Black music and culture, the BMC gala honored 12-time GRAMMY-winning artist John Legend with the first-ever Recording Academy Global Impact Award for his personal and professional achievements in the music industry. The historic night amplified the critical role of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) in pushing the music industry forward to the hundreds of artists, GRAMMY nominees and winners, Recording Academy members, and influential music executives in attendance.
"It's been a long time coming, and I don't feel great saying that," Mason Jr. said at the event, referencing how long it took for this gathering to arrive. "But now we're finally here, so let's celebrate."
As stars walked the Black carpet, they were welcomed by a small gallery of iconic images curated by photographer-turned-entrepreneur Johnny Nunez. Following opening remarks from GRAMMY-winning superproducer and event presenter Jimmy Jam about the future of the GRAMMYs, the night shifted to highlight the many ways the Recording Academy plans to combat negativity using passion and music.
And the event would live up to that statement: A wide range of Black music and artists — from the genre-redefining edge of country singer Jimmie Allen to the progressive efforts of LVRN — all embodied the moments and movements happening across studios, stages and boardrooms alike in the business.
"The playing ground has not been level," honoree MC Lyte said during her acceptance speech. "But I'm proud of the progress we've made." "Despite the continued injustice and inequality in our industry and society at large," Lyte continued, "there's no better time to be a Black creator than now."
Founded in 2020 and developed by Riggs Morales and former Co-Founder Jeriel Johnson, along with Recording Academy executives like CEO Mason jr., Co-President Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Ryan Butler, the Black Music Collective has become a hub for creative geniuses and business leaders to set unified goals, align on a shared agenda, and build community. Butterfield Jones made that agenda crystal clear through gratitude and gravitas.
"Life is short, and this assignment is purpose-driven. We are advancing this mission, and the assignment is bigger than me and any of us individually," Butterfield Jones said at the event. "It's about independent music creators, emerging artists, music people — all music people — and driving real and meaningful change we can all feel from the inside out."
Club Quarantine architect D-Nice spoke from the heart about how the world gravitated toward his virtual DJ sets during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and underlined the great role John Legend played in spreading the word to millions of people. Club Quarantine truly became a communal therapeutic experience around the world.
"Club Quarantine is not really about D-Nice, the DJ," he said. "It's about a community. People come together and they share conversations in the chats. I'm just in the background trying to create a space to feel comfortable to get together. I say this like I've said before, 'Black music saved the world.'"
And he's right.
For decades, Black music has made topics trend and barriers end. It has empowered generations to change their family legacies while giving a voice to the voiceless. "American music is Black music," Bruno Mars, who recently swept the 2022 GRAMMYs, said back in 2017. Today, there isn't a place, genre or sound that hasn't been influenced by Black music and culture.
From Muni Long wowing the crowd with her show-stopping remake of Boyz II Men's "End of the Road," titled "Boys II Men," to Saweetie saluting the importance of women throughout hip-hop's 50-year history to Chlöe Bailey proving to be a cultural phenomenon coming into her own, the Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective proved that Black people will power the next wave of creativity for years to come.
Accepting the inaugural Recording Academy Global Impact Award, John Legend, a "GETO" winner and the honoree of the night, summed up the power and influence of Black music in his speech. "Black music is and has been the rhythm, the root, the inspiration, the innovation behind so much of the world's popular music. It doesn't exist without us," he said.
"Our art and music can help movements find their footing and voice," Legend continued. "Our art and music can help activists, the people closest to injustice, and lead the way forward to equality and opportunity."
A new slew of firsts to never forget.
Beyond the glitz and glamor of the night, it's undeniably clear that the Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective was more than a who's who of the entertainment industry: It was a flag-planting occasion that embodied the Recording Academy's ongoing work to celebrate and advance Black music and its creators and professionals across the industry.
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
DJ Khaled Brings "God Did" To Life Alongside Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, John Legend, & Fridayy | 2023 GRAMMYs
Music's Biggest Night wrapped up in star-studded fashion thanks to DJ Khaled, who joined his "GOD DID" collaborators Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend, Jay-Z and Fridayy for an epic show-closing performance.
Spilling into the street outside L.A.'s Crypto.com Arena, the assembled MCs and singers spit their verses and sang their hooks awash in purple light, with Legend seated behind a piano covered in flowers while the rest sat at an opulent, overflowing table in the style of the Last Supper.
"They didn't want us to win! So I made sure I was on the GRAMMYs stage with the biggest! This is for hip-hop!" Khaled shouted in between verses by Ross and Lil Wayne. And later, Jay-Z stole the spotlight as he testified, "These ain't songs, these is hymns 'cause I'm him/ It's the Psalm 151, this New Testament/ The book of Hov/ Jesus turned water to wine/ For Hove, it just took a stove."
The praiseworthy banger raked in three nominations at this year's awards show, including Song Of The Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. The album GOD DID was up for Best Rap Album.
The superproducer scored a sixth nomination in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category for "BEAUTIFUL," the Future and SZA-assisted album cut off GOD DID. He nabbed an additional nomination as a guest artist on Mary J. Blige's Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe), which is nominated for Album Of The Year.
Over the course of 2022, GOD DID earned Khaled his seventh career Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to lead single "Staying Alive" featuring Drake and Lil Baby. It also became his fourth chart-topping album on the Billboard 200.
Photos Courtesy of the Artists
DJ Khaled To Perform “God Did” At 2023 GRAMMYs With Musical Collaborators Fridayy, Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, And Rick Ross
The GRAMMY-nominated performer will perform at Music’s Biggest Night broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 5.
GRAMMY-nominee DJ Khaled is set to appear on the 2023 GRAMMYs telecast with his musical collaborators Fridayy, Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross to perform “God Did”, his track nominated for this year’s Song Of The Year.
DJ Khaled is nominated for six GRAMMY Awards this year, with five of those nominations for “God Did” including, Song Of The Year ("God Did"), Album Of The Year (God Did), Best Rap Song ("God Did"), Best Rap Album (God Did), Best Rap Performance (“God Did”), and Best Melodic Rap Performance ("Beautiful").
Music’s Biggest Night will be broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 5 (8:00 - 11:30 PM, live ET/5:00 - 8:30 PM, live PT). It will air on the CBS Television Network, stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Before, during and after the 2023 GRAMMYs, head to live.GRAMMY.com for exclusive, never-before-seen content, including red carpet interviews, behind-the-scenes content, the full livestream of the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, and much more.
Graphic: The Recording Academy
A GRAMMY Salute To The Beach Boys Tribute Concert To Feature Performances By John Legend, Brandi Carlile, St. Vincent, Beck, Fall Out Boy, Mumford & Sons, Weezer & More; Tickets On Sale Now
Taking place Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, the live concert special will feature a star-studded lineup that also includes Charlie Puth, LeAnn Rimes, My Morning Jacket, Norah Jones, Pentatonix, Lady A, and many others.
A few days after the 2023 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy, along with Tenth Planet Productions and CBS, will present A GRAMMY Salute to the Beach Boys, a special tribute concert honoring the legendary, GRAMMY-nominated music icons, the Beach Boys. Taking place Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, the live concert special will feature a star-studded performer lineup that includes GRAMMY-winning artists and past and current GRAMMY nominees including Beck, Brandi Carlile, Fall Out Boy, Andy Grammer, Hanson, Norah Jones, Lady A, John Legend, Little Big Town, Michael McDonald, Mumford & Sons, My Morning Jacket, Pentatonix, Charlie Puth, LeAnn Rimes, St. Vincent, Take 6, and Weezer, who will all celebrate and honor the Beach Boys’ everlasting music and impactful career.
A GRAMMY Salute to the Beach Boys will air on the CBS Television Network and will be available live and on demand on Paramount+ at a later date. More info on the event is below.
Wednesday, Feb. 8
Doors: 5:30 p.m. PT
Concert: 6:30 p.m. PT
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Photo: Courtesy GREY GOOSE
The Recording Academy And GREY GOOSE Vodka Launch 'Sound Sessions' Featuring Muni Long, Ella Mai, and Pink Sweat$
As the Official Spirit of the GRAMMY Awards, the Recording Academy collaborated with GREY GOOSE Vodka to launch the digital series featuring exclusive performances from GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists, including Muni Long, Ella Mai and Pink Sweat$.
Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, GREY GOOSE is kicking off the second year of its partnership with The Recording Academy as the "Official Spirits Partner of the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards" with GREY GOOSE x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions, a weekly digital series that will feature current GRAMMY nominee Muni Long, acclaimed singer/songwriter Pink Sweat$, and GRAMMY winner and current GRAMMY nominee Ella Mai. Debuting Jan. 23, the series will stream on Instagram and YouTube now through GRAMMY weekend.
"We are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with the Recording Academy for a second year," said Aleco Azqueta, Vice President of Marketing for GREY GOOSE Vodka. "A celebration of the year's best music deserves the best cocktails, so GREY GOOSE is honored to toast to all of this year's nominees. Like the lyrics and melody of a great song, our Sound Sessions series shows just how well music and GREY GOOSE cocktails go together. It features some incredible talent and even a few surprises, so you won't want to miss each installment."
"The Recording Academy is dedicated to celebrating excellence in the recording industry and protecting music's place in our culture," said Adam Roth, Senior Vice President, Partnerships & Business Development at the Recording Academy. "We firmly believe GREY GOOSE shares this same sentiment, which is why we're so excited to partner together for a second year. Our Sound Sessions content series is a perfect example of what our two brands stand for when it comes to music: celebrating artistic expression and elevating creative voices."
The first Sound Sessions episode featuring Muni Long is now available on YouTube and will be followed by Pink Sweat$ on Thursday, Jan. 26, and Ella Mai on Thursday, Feb. 2. With every episode, fans can expect to see intimate musical performances and exclusive interviews where each artist will take them through the "ingredients" of their hit songs, while mixing together the ingredients of one of their favorite GREY GOOSE cocktails.
"It's been a pleasure to be a part of Sound Sessions with GREY GOOSE Vodka and the Recording Academy to celebrate a year of incredible music," said four-time GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Muni Long. "I'm thrilled to perform my nominated song 'Hrs and Hrs,' and I hope it brings joy and inspiration to all my fans as their support means so much to me. It was also so fun to try my hand at making the official cocktail of the GRAMMYs, The Passion Drop!"
In addition to the Sound Sessions series, GREY GOOSE will have a full-scale presence at a variety of events throughout GRAMMY weekend, including the second iteration of their hit Sound Sessions Brunch on Saturday, Feb. 4. The star-studded affair will be held in Los Angeles and feature a live performance from two-time GRAMMY winner Jazmine Sullivan. The Passion Drop, a citrusy-sweet martini cocktail, will also return as the official drink of the GRAMMY Awards and be served at all Recording Academy events throughout the weekend.
All "GREY GOOSE x GRAMMYs: Sound Sessions" content can be accessed by following each artist, along with @greygoose and @recordingacademy, on all social platforms, as well as on the official GRAMMYs Content Hub.
GREY GOOSE PASSION DROP
1.5 oz GREY GOOSE Vodka
.5 oz Small Hand Foods Ginger Syrup
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz Boiron Passionfruit Puree
.25 oz Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar to water)
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker packed with ice. Shake and strain up in a GREY GOOSE martini glass.
Garnish: Lemon twist