The Weeknd outdid himself when he released After Hours last year. Not only was it one of the best albums of 2020, it also included the single “Blinding Lights”, which recently became the first song in history to remain in the Billboard Top 10 for an entire year. Despite such immense success, The Weeknd received zero nominations for the 2021 Grammys. Now, in response to the snub, he’s decided to boycott the awards show moving forward as both a participant and an attendee.
In a statement to The New York Times, the Canadian crooner revealed that he will refuse to attend, perform at, or put his work forward for consideration at the Grammys from here on out. “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” he explained.
When news first broke that he was completely snubbed by the Grammy committee, The Weeknd likened it to a “sucker punch.” Sources close to the singer believe it was not an oversight by the Recording Academy, but rather an act of retaliation for playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Allegedly, the Grammys felt The Weeknd’s involvement in the Big Game diminished the exclusivity of him performing during the televised awards ceremony.
For its part, the Recording Academy doesn’t believe it’s to blame, but it does feel uncomfortable about the obvious discrepancies at play in this situation. “We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset,” the Recording Academy’s interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the Times. “But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees.”
Such a boycott means The Weeknd is now part of an exclusive club of artists who have previously shunned the awards show, including Drake, Kanye West, and even Fiona Apple. In 2017, Frank Ocean was vocal about deciding to skip the ceremony and refusing to submit his groundbreaking albums Blonde and Endless for consideration. “Use the old gramophone to actually listen, bro,” said Ocean in a scathing statement. “If you’re up for a discussion about the cultural bias and general nerve damage the show you produce suffers from, then I’m all for it.”
The Grammys have been haunted by controversy left and right over the past few years. The Recording Academy has revised its voting process several times now, but still regularly faces accusations of rigged nominations, unethical submissions, and more. Of course, it doesn’t help that they’ve attempted to silence anyone who speaks out about the rampant corruption the organization faces internally either.