After taping The Van Jones Show and hosting the annual Roc Nation Pre-Grammy brunch, JAY-Z’s busy day ended in celebratory fashion at the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-GRAMMY Gala on Saturday night (Jan. 27). This year, the Roc Nation mogul was honored with GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Award for his contributions as an industry trailblazer and music visionary. Beyoncé, Diddy, Jerry Seinfeld, Katie Holmes, Jamie Foxx, Cardi B, Camila Cabello, ZAYN, T.I., Diplo, Rita Ora, Swizz Beatz and more attended the extravagant event at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in NYC.
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During his speech, the 21-time Grammy Award winner recalled boycotting the GRAMMYs for six-straight years starting in 1999, after DMX and other hip-hop artists were snubbed at the time. The Brooklyn MC returned in 2004 “when a beautiful young lady whom I love dearly” was nominated for their “Crazy In Love” collaboration, referring to his wife Beyoncé. The Roc Nation mogul would later speak on coming to the realization that “art is super-subjective and everyone’s doing their best.” He would later state that, “The academy, they’re human like we are and voting on things that they like. We can pretend that we don’t care, but we do, because we see the most incredible artists stand on that stage and aspire to do that. So I was like, ‘I have to be here.’ That’s the whole idea: for all of us to get involved and to push this thing further.”
Migos, Logic, Khalid, Jennifer Hudson and Gladys Knight were some of the evening’s performers. Alicia Keys also took to the stage, delivering the longest set of the night with a beautiful medley of JAY-Z classics including “Run This Town,” “Hard Knock Life,” “U Don’t Know” and “Encore.”