Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd is calling out the Grammys, blasting the Recording Academy as “corrupt,” and announced his decision to not submit his music to be considered for recognition despite the organization’s latest commitment to reform.
Born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, the three-time Grammy-winner was reportedly the catalyst for recent rules changes the Recording Academy made that eliminated the secret nominating-review committees that considered past nominees for awards. The Weeknd criticized the awards because he was shut out even though his album After Hours was one of the industry’s biggest albums, and “Blinding Lights” was one of the most-streamed songs of the year.
“The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organization and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag,” The Weeknd told Variety.
The Super Bowl headliner said he would continue to boycott the awards.
“I think the industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated, but it’s an important start,” he said. “I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting in the future.”
The Grammys did not admit any guilt in connection with its rules change. However, interim Grammy chief Harvey Mason Jr. told Variety, “Any time an artist, especially one of that stature, calls our process into question or thinks something is unfair… the Academy is, of course, going to be affected by that, and want to work to make things better.”
Still, Mason also defended the process that resulted in a snub for The Weeknd’s music during the nominating period for the 2021 awards season.
“There’s no agendas in there, there’s no ‘let’s snub this person or that person,’” Mason told Variety in November. “It’s about, ‘Let’s try and find excellence.’”
Variety added that it seemed “unprecedented” that an artist who achieved so many accolades and saw so much commercial success would be left out of the nominations.
The Weeknd did applaud the Recording Academy for changes it made, but he said that more should be done.
The industry can keep stepping up to share their revenue to help those in need in various situations and to support the marginalized communities who create and buy the music they sell. We have seen some movement there, and I expect and encourage even more. I care about making music that people love and helping where I can.
Right now, my concern is what’s happening in my home country of Ethiopia, and encourage people to be aware of what is happening and donate where they can.
The Trevor Noah-hosted Grammy Awards, which The Weeknd skipped, put up the telecast’s lowest ratings on record in march.
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