The Weeknd is telling the Grammys to save their tears. The “Blinding Lights” superstar will continue to withhold his music from Grammy consideration despite the Academy’s commitment to improving the nominations process.
Beginning in 2022, the Recording Academy will no longer use secret committees to vote on nominations in several categories – a previous process that had long been labelled unfair by numerous artists, including Halsey and The Weeknd, due to allegations of rigging. Last year, when Grammy noms were announced, the music industry was shocked that The Weeknd received zero nods despite the record-breaking success of his album After Hours. He immediately called out the awards ceremony in a tweet:
The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2020
Later on, he announced he would boycott all future Grammys and not submit his music for consideration.
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The Grammys announced the forthcoming change on April 30, and The Weeknd responded in an interview with The New York Times, stating that eliminating the committees are a start but it doesn’t change how they treated him. “Even though I won’t be submitting my music, the Grammys’ recent admission of corruption will hopefully be a positive move for the future of this plagued award and give the artist community the respect it deserves with a transparent voting process,” he said.
It’s no secret that the Grammys have had a fair amount of controversy over the years, particularly over their treatment of artists of colour. Racialized artists rarely take home gramophones in the main categories – Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist – if they’re even nominated at all. Often when they are acknowledged, it’s within traditionally non-white categories such as R&B or hip-hop. Even then, they still sometimes lose to white artists, resulting in major upsets. Who could forget Macklemore apologizing to Kendrick Lamar in 2014 for winning over him, or this year, when Billie Eilish beat out Megan Thee Stallion and told the rapper she should have won?
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The awards have also dished out some sexist attitudes, including the time when former Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said that women needed to “step up” in order to score nominations and wins back in 2018. In an iconic moment, popstar Dua Lipa called him out when she won for Best New Artist the following year.
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With all that messiness, it’s no wonder The Weeknd would want to stay far away from the awards show. With several platinum songs, bestselling albums and tours, and a Super Bowl performance under his belt, his success indicates the Grammys need him more than he needs the Grammys. As the saying goes, go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.