Jay-Z Calls Out the Recording Academy for Beyoncé’s Grammy Snubs

Jay-Z used his milestone Grammys moment to shine a spotlight on problems he believes are ongoing within the Recording Academy—especially as they pertain to his wife, Beyoncé.

At tonight’s 66th Grammy Awards show, the legendary rapper took to the stage to accept a black gramophone for the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, which recognizes an artist’s lifetime and career achievements.

“How far we have come with Will Smith—Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince winning their first Grammy in ’89 and boycotting because it wasn’t televised?” began Jay, who was joined onstage by 12-year-old daughter Blue Ivy. “And then, they went to like a hotel and watched the Grammys—I ain’t even understand. It wasn’t a great boycott,” he joked, to laughter from the audience. “But then, ’98, I took a page out of their book. I was nominated for the best rap album. And DMX had dropped two rap albums that year—they both were no. 1. … And he wasn’t nominated at all. So I boycotted—and I watched the Grammys.”

He continued, “I’m just saying, we want you all to get it right. We love y’all, we love y’all, we love y’all—we want y’all to get it right, at least get it close to right. And obviously, it’s subjective … because it’s music and it’s opinion-based, but, you know, some things …”

He went on to reference Beyoncé’s achievements—she broke the record for winning the most Grammys in history last year, with a whopping 32 awards and 88 nominations under her belt.

“I don’t want to embarrass this young lady,” Jay said, gesturing toward Beyoncé at their table, “but she has more Grammys than everyone, and never won Album of the Year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that: The most Grammys, never won Album of the Year—that doesn’t work.”

He added, “Some of you are gonna go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed. Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don’t belong in the category.”

When his last statement induced a lively reaction from the audience, the rapper made reassuring noises, but noted, “When I get nervous, I tell the truth.”

Watch his full speech below.

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As an associate editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.