Summer Walker, John Legend Light Up Black Music Grammy Event

Summer Walker, Chloe Bailey, Muni Long, Cordae and Jimmie Allen delivered rousing performances and groundbreaking rapper MC Lyte and singer-songwriter John Legend were honored at the Recording’s first-ever Black Music Collective ceremony. Academy Saturday night.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I don’t feel good saying this,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the glittering audience at Resorts World Las Vegas. “But now we’re finally here, so let’s celebrate.”

And the event rose to the occasion and planted the flag for an exciting new landmark in Grammy week lineup. The event also spoke about the wide range of black music, ranging from the sultry R&B of Walker and Long to rapper Cordae and country singer Allen, and the hundreds of artists, industry types and community members were in the room.

Amber Grimes gave a rousing induction speech honoring Walker’s record label, LVRN (Love Renaiassance), discussing how the company’s five founders came together to move Atlanta’s music scene forward and made mental health a foundation of their approach. The label also includes 6lack, DRAM and Boogie, as well as Walker.

Saweetie featured groundbreaking rapper and TV personality MC Lyte, who was honored for her pioneering role in hip-hop.

“There is no conversation about the past, present and future of hip-hop without women,” she said. “The playing field hasn’t been level, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. Despite the continuing injustice and inequality in our industry and society at large, there’s no better time to be a black designer than now.

DJ D-Nice showed genuine humility, speaking of how the world unexpectedly rallied around his virtual club quarantine sets during lockdown, speaking of his amazement as hundreds of thousands people tuned in and the role John Legend played in spreading the message via Instagram. Recording Academy co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones opened up about her experience with the Obama administration, delivering a moving speech addressing the moment and what it means for the community. And Legend himself received the Academy’s first-ever Global Impact award.

summer walker
Christopher Polk for Variety

Muni Long (pictured, top, with Legend) brought the house down with his bawdy ballad “Boyz 2 Men”: “I got my ‘hoo’ / And you got yours too / You’re just the ex that I call for sex / Until I find the one I want.(See clip below.)

Led by Riggs Morales, the Collective is an advisory group formed in 2020 to advance black music. Legend is an Honorary Member of the Presidency along with Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, Jimmy Jam and others.

“Black music is and has been the rhythm, the root, the inspiration, the innovation behind much of the world’s popular music. It doesn’t exist without us,” Legend said. “Our art and music can help movements find their place and their voice. Our art and music can help activists, those closest to injustice, and pave the way to equality and opportunity.

D-Nice also acknowledged John Legend’s impact through the creation of his wildly successful Quarantine Club, sharing with industry players that it was Legend who helped spark the wave of acclaim and new followers at the start of the IG Live broadcast. Party.

“Club Quarantine isn’t really about D-Nice, the DJ,” he said. “It’s about a community. People get together and share conversations in chats. I’m just in the background, trying to create a space to feel comfortable coming together. I say this like I said before “Black music saved the world”.