Will Smith is a multi-talented personality in Hollywood. From being one of the biggest names behind the impact of hip hop in Hollywood to a talented actor who has worked in almost every genre of movie- the American actor needs no description.

Will Smith
Will Smith

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Will Smith made headlines in 2022 after the Chris Rock slapgate controversy. The actor was criticized globally by for his insensitive act in the live event. This is not the first time Will Smith has diverted media attention due to his actions at a prestigious event. In 1989, the actor and DJ Jazzy Jeff boycotted the Grammy’s for a significant reason and made headlines around the world.

Why Will Smith And DJ Jazzy Jeff Boycotted The 1988 Grammy Awards?

Back in 1989, Will Smith was not even a percentage closer to the fame and reputation, to what he has today. According to a report by reputed media outlet The Hollywood Reporter in 2016, DJ Jazzy Jeff and  Will Smith earned their first Grammy Award under Best Rap Performance for Parents Just Don’t Understand. The talented duo went on to boycott the entire event for an important reason. Their happy moment was overshadowed when they got to know that a certain section of the Grammy Awards presentation would not be televised.

Will Smith
Will Smithy and DJ Jazzy Jeff

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After boycotting the event, DJ Jazzy Jeff said in an Instagram post:

“They said there wasn’t enough time to televise all of the categories. They televised 16 categories and, from record sales, from the Billboard charts, from the overall public’s view, there’s no way you can tell me that out of 16 categories, that rap isn’t in the top 16,”

Will Smith

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Will Smith said-

“We chose to boycott. We feel that it’s a slap in the face,”

He further mentioned-

“They don’t know anything about rap music. Our boycott was to open their eyes to rap music so next year, some rapper will be able to perform at the Grammys and the awards will be televised because the music is large enough and important enough to be on the show,” 

King Richard Star asserted that rap was still not counted as a significant form of art. According to Will Smith, it was a monumental moment in the history of music as they were the first artists to win the award in the Best Rap Performance category. They were very upset due to the broadcasting decision by the organizers.

Famous Music Artists Supported Will Smith And DJ Jazzy Jeff On Their Boycott Move

Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff went on to become a significant part of the history of music as both the artist’s acts were validated by reputed people from the industry. Hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa’s executive Russell Simmons and rapper LL Cool J had issued a joint statement in support of the 1989 Grammy Awards boycott which mentioned-

If they don’t want us, we don’t want them,” 

Will Smith
Will Smith with DJ Jazzy Jeff

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As reported by the media outlet Because Of Them We Can, Jay-Z had also boycotted the prestigious award ceremony. During an interview with MTV in 2002 Jay Z said-

“I didn’t think they gave the rightful respect to hip hop…It started that they didn’t nominate DMX that year. DMX had an incredible album. He didn’t get a nomination. I was like, ‘Nah, that’s crazy,’”

Due to their much-hyped boycott, the very next year Grammys televised the Best Rap Performance Award which was won by MC for his single Bust a Move. 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter/ MTV/ Instagram


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