The Weeknd‘s feud with the Grammy Awards took another turn this week when the artist announced that he will boycott the event, a protest which comes after the academy failed to give the 31-year-old recognition despite one of his most successful years.
“I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” the singer said in a statement to The New York Times.
The “Blinding Lights” artist, who received no nominations for After Hours, is one of the many artists bashing the Recording Academy which organizes the event. The list of artists who have called out the Grammys in recent years includes Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Drake. Former One Direction member Zayn Malik blasted the process last week, saying musicians are expected to “shake hands and send gifts” to get nominations. The celebrities are particularly frustrated with the voting system, which they describe as outdated and lacking in transparency, Yahoo Finance reported.
Under the process, anonymous expert committees make the final say on Grammy nominations after reviewing submissions from thousands of voting members who make up the Recording Academy.
Harvey Mason Jr., the interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said the awards ceremony is “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,” the CEO said.
To improve the process last year, the academy invited more than 2,300 music professionals to join its 2020 new member class. The group’s demographic included 48% female, 21% African American/African descent and 8% Hispanic, as well as 3% Asian American and Pacific Islander.
“We are proud of the strides we’ve made toward ensuring our membership is diverse and inclusive, which is reflected within this new pool of invitees,” Mason Jr. said in a statement last year. “While this progress signifies meaningful impact, there’s still more work to be done. We’ll continue to fight to achieve inclusive representation across gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, and beyond within our community.”
As Blavity previously reported, The Weeknd expressed his disappointment in November after learning that After Hours had been snubbed from awards this year.
“The Grammys remain corrupt,” he wrote on Twitter. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”
The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2020
After Hours, which featured hits such as “Heartless,” “In Your Eyes” and “Save Your Tears,” spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. Still, the album didn’t appear in any of the nominations for the 2020 Grammy Awards.
“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,” Mason Jr. said, according to NBC News. “Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists.”
The Canadian star, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, performed at the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida, in February. According to one source, however, the Grammy executives gave the artist an ultimatum to perform at their awards show or sing at the Super Bowl.
“There was an ultimatum given resulting in a struggle over him also playing the Super Bowl that went on for some time and was eventually agreed upon that he would perform at both events,” the source told Rolling Stone. “[The Recording Academy] had all these convos with the Weeknd team in the past month, and today on Nov. 24, The Weeknd had not one nomination and is now completely ignored by the Grammys.”