Black History:  Special Delivery!!


Jeffrey Townes aka “DJ Jazzy Jeff” (left), Will Smith aka “The Fresh Prince” (right)

On February 22, 1989, DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffrey Townes) and The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) won the first Rap Grammy Award, for “Best Rap Performance” for their hit single, “Parents Just Don’t Understand” written by Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes).  The group eventually sold over 5 million albums worldwide.  The rap group formed in 1986.  At the time the group launched, the Grammy Awards did not include a hip hop category.  This did not occur until 1989.  Though the group was nominated the category nomination was not going to be televised.  The group was however, asked to perform their hit single at the Grammy Awards Show.  The decision not to televise the category nomination did not sit well with the group and they along with several other rap artists decided to boycott the Grammys in 1989.  Because they boycotted the event, the group was unaware for a time that they had actually been awarded the Grammy.  They found out when someone called to congratulate them.  Even with this controversy, the addition of a Hip Hop category at the Grammy’s brought broad recognition and credibility of hip hop as a form of music.