When the 2021 Grammy Award nominations have been introduced in November, 1000’s of individuals have been shocked to see that The Weeknd — one of the crucial commercially and critically profitable artists of the previous yr — was not nominated for any awards.
Whereas The Weeknd (actual title Abel Tesfaye) and his group had mainly allowed the scenario to die down in current weeks, it flared up once more on the Thursday earlier than the Grammys. In an announcement to The New York Occasions, he stated that he’ll boycott the awards, a minimum of till change is instituted.
“Due to the key committees,” The Weeknd stated, “I’ll now not enable my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
These “secret committees” are a bunch of business veterans, executives and artists who decide the nominees in sure classes. The work of the committees was singled out in a authorized criticism by Deborah Dugan — who in January of final yr was ousted as president and CEO of the Recording Academy after simply eight months — as an emblem of longstanding corruption inside the Grammy forms.
Motive for Grammys snub unclear
It’s doable that The Weeknd merely did not earn sufficient votes to be nominated on the Grammys, as an alternative of the committees vetoing him.
However since his music noticed large success in 2020 — his Blinding Lights lately surpassed one yr within the Prime 10 of Billboard’s Scorching 100 chart — a number of theories have been raised about why he was excluded. Quickly after the nominations have been introduced, some followers posited that organizers merely did not need The Weeknd to carry out at each the Grammys and the Tremendous Bowl.
The Weeknd was introduced because the 2021 Tremendous Bowl halftime performer in November of final yr, making him the primary Canadian solo act to headline. The 2 exhibits have been initially scheduled only a week aside, however the Grammys have been subsequently moved from Jan. 31 to March 14 as a consequence of a coronavirus spike in Southern California.
However the idea that the snub was as a consequence of scheduling points is made much more complicated by the truth that The Weeknd, the NFL, CBS (which broadcasts each the Grammys and the Tremendous Bowl) and Tremendous Bowl halftime advisor Roc Nation held intensive conferences and labored out the scenario in order that he may do each — solely to have the scenario turn into moot days later, when The Weeknd was excluded from the nominations and successfully out of the operating to be a performer on the present.
Requested concerning the snub by Selection on the day the nominations have been introduced, interim Grammy chief Harvey Mason Jr., who changed Dugan, declined to search out fault with the Academy’s course of.
“It actually simply comes all the way down to the voting physique that decides,” Mason stated. “We have now eight nomination slots to fill in [the “Big Four” categories: best album, song, record and new artist], 5 in others, and the voters vote for his or her favourites.”
Requested once more concerning the scenario earlier this week, Mason instructed Selection: “A few of it was [decided by] the nominating committees and a few was the voting physique, as a result of some of the awards he was eligible for didn’t have nominating committees, so it was a mixture of each. However once more, it is unlucky, we by no means prefer to see any person as gifted as The Weeknd get disregarded or really feel disregarded. It is not one thing any of us are blissful about.”
Requested if the snub signifies that the Academy will take into account altering its guidelines at its forthcoming board conferences in Might, he stated: “The method is unquestionably one thing that we’re going to proceed to have a look at and proceed to guarantee that it is evolving as music continues to evolve.
“I will hopefully have extra issues to speak about sooner or later.”
Mason, who can be chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, is predicted to step down for a brand new, everlasting president/CEO in Might, though the choice course of continues to be underway.
The Weeknd’s supervisor, Wassim Slaiby, instructed the Occasions in an electronic mail interview that it was nonetheless unclear why his shopper was not nominated.
“We have been many weeks and dozens of calls in with the Grammy group round Abel’s efficiency proper up to the day of nominations being introduced,” stated Slaiby, who’s often called Sal. “We have been scratching our heads in confusion and wished solutions.”
Representatives for The Weeknd, his label, Republic Data and the Recording Academy didn’t instantly reply to Selection’s requests for additional remark.
Slaiby stated he hopes The Weeknd’s stand evokes different artists to talk out in opposition to the key committees.
“The Grammys ought to deal with their legacy and clear it as much as increase the bar to a degree the place everybody could possibly be proud to carry up that award,” he stated. “That is Harvey’s probability to step up and have his legacy be the man who acquired the Grammys lastly proper.”
Even earlier than Thursday’s announcement, different musicians critiqued the awards present for its decision-making. Musician Tyler, the Creator criticized the most effective rap album class — which he received — in 2020, saying it was used to marginalize Black artists with “genre-bending” music.
“I do not like that ‘city’ phrase,” he stated after accepting the award. “That is only a politically right approach to say the n-word to me.”
Equally, in November singer Halsey wrote in an Instagram story that the awards are “not all the time concerning the music or high quality or tradition.”
That very same month, Justin Bieber wrote on social media he was upset his album Adjustments was nominated within the pop class as an alternative of R&B. And taking to Twitter, Nicki Minaj highlighted that she was not nominated for finest new artist early on in her profession, whereas Bon Iver was.
“Always remember the Grammys did not give me my finest new artist award once I had 7 songs concurrently charting on billboard & larger first week than any feminine rapper within the final decade- went on to encourage a technology,” she tweeted. “They gave it to the white man Bon Iver. “