Grammys under fire for labelling Virgil Abloh a ‘hip-hop fashion designer’

“Virgil Abloh was the damn artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear and founded a full-on fashion house in Milan,” the Watching the Throne podcast posted. “I get them trying to tie him to music in some way to ‘explain’ the inclusion to clueless people. But respect is more important than catering to a clueless person.”

Abloh who died of cancer in 2021 was known for rubbing shoulders and working with hip hop artists to the likes of Kanye, but fans and critics of the label given to him by the Recording Academy do not agree that it should define his career. The designer and visionary was 41 years old when he died.

Apart from his work at Louis Vuitton and the luxury Italian brand Off-White, Abloh also worked with Fendi and Nike. He also created the Grammy-nominated packaging for Kanye’s 2012 Watch the Throne album, as per E! News.


Supporters and critics of the “Hip Hop Fashion Designer” label took to Twitter to relay their dismay.

“HOW did that even get approved by multiple people????” a comment on Twitter read.

“The micro aggressive racism we see in fashion and entertainment today still baffles me,” another stated.

Twitter posts continued: “cos the thing is, we know someone probably queried that and thought is it necessary then somebody with sign off said yes. they could’ve said ‘iconic’ or something or just ‘fashion designer’. somebody purposefully kept it in. none of these moments are accidents.”

Jacob Gallagher, author of The Men’s Fashion Book, also weighed in on Twitter, writing: “big yikes.”

E! News reached out to the Recording Academy for comment.