On Tuesday (Nov 24), the National Recording Academy received an onslaught of tweets from fans and celebrities inquiring about a few of 2020’s most notable albums, including projects by Lil Baby among many others, but when it came to the snubbing of one of this year’s biggest artists, many artists and fans alike are asking “what happened?”
Earlier this year, the Canadian-bred singer released his highly anticipated album, After Hours, unleashing one of 2020’s biggest commercial success stories, with more than 1.8 billion streams to date. Its second single, “Blinding Lights,” became a blockbuster with help from TikTok, resulting in a whopping 882 million streams. Despite the proven numbers and his sweep of other award shows, and a widespread expectation in the industry — The Weeknd received zero nominations for the 2021 Grammys and decided to take to Twitter to inquire about it.
“The Grammys remain corrupt,” The Weeknd wrote “You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency.”
The “In Your Eyes” singer also seemingly hinted that he and his team were preparing for a performance before receiving the news of the snub, writing that the lack of nominations meant he was being “uninvited.”
“Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited?” The Weeknd continued. “In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!”
According to published reports, a source alleges that the Weeknd’s shutout was a result of weeks of discussions about a possible performance at the January ceremony.
“There were many conversations between the Grammys and the Weeknd team about his performance slated for the 2021 Grammys,” the source reportedly said. “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 Recording Academy] had all these convos with the Weeknd team in the past month, and today on November 24th, the Weeknd had not one nomination and is now completely ignored by the Grammys.”
After news of fans and The Weeknd’s disapproval, Recording Academy Chief, Harvey Mason Jr., spoke out about the snub, noting that the decision had nothing to do with the upcoming Super Bowl performance, before adding that the nominees were decided prior to the announcement of the “Starboy” singer’s performance, adding that he empathizes with The Weeknd’s frustration after releasing “excellent” music.
“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 said in a statement. “We would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before [the Super Bowl],” he adds. “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,” Mason Jr says. “All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all.”
Despite the apparent damage control, it appears this controversy’s not going away anytime soon. The Weeknd’s manager, Sal Slaiby, also slammed “corrupt leaders” at the Grammys and demanded transparency.
“Corrupt leaders need to step aside. Enough hiding behind your desks,” Slaiby wrote. “We won’t tolerate or stay quiet. The time for change is now. We need transparency!!!!!!!”