Sean “Diddy” Combs has spoken about Travis Scott and Morgan Wallen‘s inclusion on the performance line-up for this weekend’s Billboard Music Awards, which Combs is both hosting and executive producing.
It was announced earlier this month that Wallen would perform at this year’s ceremony, a year after footage of the country singer saying a racial slur emerged. The video led to him being banned from last year’s Country Music Awards, American Music Awards and, indeed, the Billboard Music Awards.
At the time he was announced to perform at this year’s event, MRC Live & Alternative, who produce the Billboard Awards, provided a statement to Billboard about their decision to include Wallen. They said: “After a thorough review and robust discussions internally and with the artist’s team, in which we found a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we extended an invitation to participate in this year’s show.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Scott had also joined the line-up, making his first major public appearance after the crowd crush tragedy that occurred during his headline set at last year’s Astroworld festival. The incident left 10 people dead and, according to a new filing, thousands injured.
In a recent Instagram video, Diddy said he was directly involved with getting Scott the gig. “I made a request. I made a demand. I said, ‘My brother Travis Scott has to perform,” Combs said. “And NBC said yes.”
Now, in an interview with Billboard, Combs has elaborated on what will be both Wallen and Scott’s first performance at a major awards ceremony since their respective incidents, positioning their inclusion as a kind of opposition to “cancel culture”.
“The mood of the show is about love and forgiveness,” Combs said. “As a musical family, none of us are saints; none of us are without things that happen to them in life. So one of the things I’m doing directly is un-canceling the canceled. That’s breaking news because people haven’t been about uncanceling. But canceling is a trend that needs to stop.
“Travis went through a tragedy; Morgan [used the N-word] while talking to his boy. People make mistakes. Now we’re moving on with love and respect for everybody that was hurt or affected. It’s time to forgive,” he continued.
“To have Morgan and Travis be able to come back and touch the stage again with the mindset of getting a second chance at life. Everybody in the room is getting a second chance at life, you know, because we’re back outside with no masks on. We need love and I’m excited about celebrating that.”
This year’s Billboard Music Awards will take place at the MGM Grand Grand Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday (May 15). Other performers include Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, Silk Sonic, Burna Boy, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran and Machine Gun Kelly.