Singer, The Weeknd has announced he’ll be boycotting the Grammys award going forward after he was shut out of the 2021 nominations.
For years, The Grammy awards has been facing accusations of bias against women and Black artists, and complaints over an opaque voting system that critics say is unfair and not realistic.
Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Drake have previously spoken out about the Grammys and racial bias in the past, but this year’s biggest controversy involves the Weeknd, whose mega-hit track “Blinding Lights” has broken chart records, but was snubbed by the award organisers.
Last month the singer performed at the Super Bowl halftime show, pop music’s biggest show, but during the Grammy nominations, the Weeknd was snubbed, generating huge criticism towards the selection process.
Anonymous expert committees review initial nomination choices by the thousands of music professionals who make up the voting membership of the Recording Academy, and the same expert committees have the final say on who makes 61 out of the Grammys’ 84 categories.
The Weeknd, released a statement to The New York Times, saying he would boycott the awards from now on.
“Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.” The Weeknd said
Harvey Mason Jr., a producer and songwriter who is the academy’s interim chief executive, said the organization is dedicated to improving itself.
“We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset,” Mason said in response to the Weeknd’s statement.
“But I will say that we are 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.”
As part of its efforts to change, the academy has invited thousands of new members, hired a diversity officer and ‘brought more women and people of color into its committees and leadership.’ “The changes have been transformative,” Mason added
Chris Anokute, a music executive, said The Weeknd “clearly made the album of the year,” at least as far as popularity goes.
“If his peers didn’t vote for him, that’s a shame — if that’s the truth,” Anokute said. “We don’t really believe that’s the truth; there’s just no way. But we really don’t know.”