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Arsenio Hall backstage at the 2013 Grammy Nominations Concert

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The 2013 Grammy Nominations Concert took place on Dec. 6 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, and was televised in the U.S. on CBS. Several of the artists who performed or were presenters at the event were also announced as nominees for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be held on January 26, 2014, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here is what this Grammy Nominations Concert entertainer said backstage in the press room.


Do you have any predictions on who will be winners at the 2014 Grammy Awards?

Two things come to mind. One of the early shows since I’ve been back was Kendrick Lamar, and he dropped a single that is doing well, and he’s obviously going to o very well at the Grammys. So it’s exciting when I see his name on the Teleprompter. He’s a great interview, and I wish him luck.

I don’t know Ryan Lewis and Macklemore, but they’re going to do it. They’re going to do very well. I have a feeling that Ryan Lewis and Macklemore will win in categories they’re not nominated in. They’re just that hot right now. They’re going to do very well.

And as I was reading the Teleprompter, I could see the look on [Ed] Sheeran’s face when I said his name. It was interesting that he was that humble about his art. He’s a very talented guy. We know he’s a force to be reckoned with, but he looked surprised that I said his name. Didn’t you all feel that? I was trying to work and see people, but he looked very shocked. So I wish him luck. I hope he does well, because he seems like a talented, humble man.

Kanye West has said that he if keeps speaking out, “they’re going do me like Arsenio.” What’s your response to Kanye West?

Like usual, Kanye’s premise confuses the facts. So then therefore, everything else has to be thrown out. I think at the end of the day, he’s a musician. I’m a comedian. We’re not doctors. Nobody works for Johns Hopkins. We’re not educators. And I think we take ourselves too serious, but I think that’s something that will straighten itself out with maturity.

Because of the bottom line is … Yo man, stop making me like Nat Turner or something. I know what you heard in the barber shop, but I just left my show. The white man didn’t do something this time, bro. Save something for when the white man [does] something.

Don’t muddy the waters of racism with my bullsh*t, because it was not racism. It was not a plot. I just left my show! I left six months before the sh*t you’re talking about. So the bottom line is I don’t like to be put in those conversations, because there’s no struggle here. My struggle was in the ghettos of Cleveland. There’s no struggle now.

I hate the word “slave” used on songs. [Get] the f*ck out of here! Do you know what that word is? Do you know what that word is all about? Nobody can use “slave” in pop culture! If you’re in the music business, you shouldn’t f*ck with that word. Too serious an error, too serious a problem in America.

Using the word “slave” in pop culture. There’s no one that’s free to move around in this country that should use the word “slave.” Do you know what it meant to slaves?

What about the “n” word?

I’m traditional with the “n” word. When I’m around my Italian friends, there are words they use that I don’t use. I think everyone knows what the rules are. [He says jokingly] And the bottom is that other than Michael Richards, I don’t think anybody should use the “n” word. I don’t mind him sliding into it every now and then.


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