Will Smith has said he will not attend the Oscars this year amid the continuing controversy over the #OscarsSoWhite, but this is not the first time he has boycotted an awards show.
In 1989, Smith and his musical partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for their hit “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” It was a historic win in its own right, but Smith ended up not attending the Grammys because the rap categories were not going to be televised.
“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 Entertainment Tonight at the time. “We chose to boycott. We feel that it’s a slap in the face.”
“They said there wasn’t enough time to televise all of the categories,” Jazzy Jeff, real name Jeffrey Allen Townes, said in his recollection of what he was told by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Grammys’ governing body, regarding the decision not to televise the rap 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.”