The Weeknd has a huge fanbase willing to follow any of his steps, but he have just lost one of the most valuable members, The Grammy Awards. This statement was confirmed by the singer through a tweet in November 2020 where he shows discomfort after the Academy revealed the 2021 nominees and it was impossible to ignore The Weeknd’s absence. This was hard to believe due to his success after “Blinding Lights” from the album After Hours.
The Canadian singer also shared to The New York Times his desire to boycott the awards. “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys”, The Weeknd expressed. According to the magazine, there is an important statistic to consider. Some main categories, such as Best Album of the Year, has not had an Afro-descendant winner since Herbie Hancock in 2008. Plus, other Afro-descendant artists have expressed the same concern. Drake, Kanye West and Frank Ocean are the most well-known cases. Nonetheless, the NARAS has not taken the time to explain the nominees evaluation process.
As mentioned before, The Weeknd has not been the only artist who complains about the unclear secret committees’ process. Zayn Malik on March 9th, 2021 openly tweeted his feelings towards The Grammys. Followed up by a clarification where he highlights that none of his words are personal.
Also, Halsey slammed The Grammys over bribes on social media. She mentions how the Academy are an elusive process that is about knowing the right people, campaign through grapevine and private performances. And also tells that it is about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure to help the NARAS to make millions in advertising on the night of the show.
After all this, The Grammy Chief Mason Jr. reported that The Weeknd was expected to perform at the ceremony on January 31st, as well as the Super Bowl the following week. This situation turned into a hard and polemical negotiation that caused the artist’s absence. “We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration…” he said.
Mason Jr. pointed out that the idea of having The Weeknd performing in The Grammys and The Super Bowl was thrilling and would have been such a wonderful event, but unfortunately, enery year there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. Also, “To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process” The Grammy Chief expressed.
As a result, the Academy expressed that nominations are a multi-step process in which committees include veteran music professionals to make their own decisions based on a shortlist handed down from a screening committee that considers thousand of submissions.