25th November, 2020
By Taiwo Okanlawon
Canadian singer and songwriter, The Weeknd called out the Grammys hours after the 2021 nominations were announced on Tuesday, November 24.
“The Grammys remain corrupt,” the “Blinding Lights” singer, 30, tweeted on Tuesday. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”
The Weeknd was shut out completely by the Recording Academy despite his album, After Hours, and its many singles being a staple on the airwaves. During 2020, he had two singles land in the top 10 on the Billboard charts and six songs make it on the Billboard Global 200 list.
The decision by the academy not to nominate the singer, despite the success recorded from ‘After Hours’, his fourth studio album; and ‘Blinding Lights‘, his hit single, had left many surprised.
The Weekend was not alone in his gripes against how the Grammys picks nominees. Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj also threw shade at the awards show on social media for their own reasons on Tuesday.
The “Yummy” singer, 26, who was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album voiced his issues with his album, Changes, being classified as a pop album and not a R&B record.
“Please don’t mistake this as me being ungrateful, these are just my thoughts take em or leave em. Thank you to the people who fought for me to even have any noms,” Bieber prefaced his Instagram message regarding his gripe with the academy.
The Canadian crooner penned a let to the Grammys noting he is “flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry” before breaking down why his album should not be classified as a pop record.
“I am very meticulous and intentional about my music. With that being said I set out to make an R&B album. Changes was and is an R&B album,” he wrote. “It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album which is very strange to me. I grew up admiring R&B music and wished to make a project that would embody that sound. For this not to be put into that category feels weird considering from the chords to the melodies to the vocal style all the way down to the hip hop drums that were chosen it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B album!”
He concluded by saying he “absolutely love[s] Pop music, [but] it just wasn’t what I set out to make this time around. My gratitude for feeling respected for my work remains and I am honored to be nominated either way.”
Nicki Minaj, on her part, brought up a past Grammys issue after Bon Iver earned a nod for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for his collaboration with Taylor Swift on “Exile.”
“Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation,” the “Tusa” rapper, 37, tweeted. “They gave it to the white man Bon Iver. #PinkFriday.”
Minaj was up against Bon Iver, which is a folk group founded by Justin Vernon, in 2012 for Best New Artist, which she lost. Bon Iver also took home the trophy for Alternative Music Album that year. The “Anaconda” rapper, however, has yet to win a Grammy.
Reacting to The Weeknd’s allegation, Harvey Mason, chairman of the recording academy, dismissed claims that the singer’s nomination was cancelled over previous negotiations with respect to his performance at the 2021 Grammys.
“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,” he told Rolling stone.
“We would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before [the Super Bowl]. Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process.
“All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all.”
The Weeknd was one of the biggest winners at the 2020 American Music Awards held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on November 22.