Chuck D Calls Out Grammys For ‘Same Old Jive’ Following Deborah Dugan Ousting

Posted on in Fresh Gems

Five months after Deborah Dugan joined the Recording Academy as its CEO and president, the powers-that-be at the Recording Academy have placed her on administrative leave — and Chuck D has something to say about it.

The news Dugan’s departure was announced on Friday (January 17).

“The Board Trustees felt this action to be necessary, due to serious concerns that recently were brought to our attention,” interim Recording Academy President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement. “While we are unable to share the details the concerns to protect employee privacy, please know that the Board has retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations into allegations that have been made.”

Dugan’s attorney Bryan Freedman responded to the ousting on Twitter, writing, “What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told. When our ability to speak is not restrained by a 28-page contract and legal threats, we will expose what happens when you ‘step up’ at the Recording Academy, a public nonprit.”

Freedman added, This is what happens when you step up. #grammys #thisiswhathappenswhenyoustepup #stepup #deborahdugan #grammyssomale #fixgrammysnow #oldboysnetwork #grammysstepup.”

The “step-up” is a jab at former chief executive Neil Portnow’s suggestion following the 2018 Grammys that female artists should “step up” in response to a lack awards representation.

The Public Enemy frontman, who is preparing to accept a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in April, has issued an open letter to the Grammys and Hip Hop. He makes it abundantly clear he applauds Dugan’s efforts while shaming the “ignorant, testosterone-fueled, usually old white men” who tend to thwart any real progress.

“They want to keep it the status quo and make sure things like Hip Hop stay the poster child their fuckery,” he wrote in part. “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 fuck about a goddamn Grammy.’ We fought to be recognized and for things to change. We kicked that door in for others to come through.”

Chuck D Calls Out Grammys For 'Same Old Jive' Following Deborah Dugan Ousting

The pioneering Hip Hop legend also applauded Dugan’s efforts to affect serious change and expressed his disappointment in the “same old jive,” noting he was aware Dugan was “having her own struggles” within an academy “that thinks Public Enemy ended in 1992.”

“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,” he continued. In agreeing to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award when Deborah called me was no different.

“We discussed these issues and what need to change. Hip Hop can’t be judged by a bunch old corporate guards who rewrite history to serve their corporate bottom line.”

Chuck also condemned the Grammys for questioning DJ Lord’s position in the group. Lord has been behind the 1s and 2s as part Public Enemy for over two decades.

“We had to haggle, to educate, to justify why a core member our group for the past 22 years, DJ Lord, should be a part this award,” he added. “We had to question why our biggest UK hit and the them to the global Paralympics Games ‘Harder Than You Think’ was left out.”

Chuck ended his letter by stating he isn’t surprised Dugan is out.

“Never could I have imagined that pushing for the recognition our art form deserved would turn into artists being coerced into disrespecting the craft, themselves, the culture and other people only to chase the bag and validation from corporations and award shows who don’t care about you. I hope this letter will be a wake-up call for them. New folks but the same ol bullshit pattern doesn’t change a thing.”