WILL SMITH & JAZZY JEFF WON 1ST RAP GRAMMY BUT BOYCOTT SHOW
In 1989 they won the first ever Grammy for Best Rap performance for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” But they were also disgusted by the blatant disrespect the Grammys showed to the entire rap genre, by not televising the rap category, nor nominating many other well-deserving rappers of that era.
So instead of simply accepting their award and saying “Thank ya massuh,” Will Smith called up some of their fellow rap peers- including Salt N Pepa, L.L. Cool J., Kid N’ Play, Public Enemy, Slick Rick and others- and he and Jazzy initiated a boycott outside the ceremony in protest of the Grammy’s disrespect. Below is a photo of their 1989 Grammy boycott…
Will Smith told Et in 1989: “We don’t have the problem with the GRAMMY as an award or the GRAMMYs as an institution, we just had a problem with the 1989 design of the awards show,” Smith told ET at the time. “We chose to boycott. We feel that it’s a slap in the face.”
So, what would Smith have said if he accepted his GRAMMY back in 1989?
“This award is for Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, but it’s for everybody,” he told ET. “It’s for Salt-N-Pepa. It’s for Kid ‘n Play. It’s for everybody in the rap industry and this is a milestone in our career and it’s a milestone in the history of rap. We’re just happy to make history and we just wish it could have gone down differently.”
That decision could have gotten them blacklisted in the industry, forever fading into hip hop history, but that did NOT matter to Will and Jazzy and for that, we respect them.