Sorry, Recording Academy — The Weeknd is over the Grammy Awards. The pop-R&B sensation recently revealed he’s boycotting the annual awards show in an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, March 11 — but why? Here’s what we know.
“Because of the secret committees,” the 31-year-old cryptically told the outlet. “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
This isn’t the first time the Toronto native has spoken out about music’s biggest night. Following the 2021 nominations announcement, the “I Can’t Feel My Face” artist — whose real name is Abel Tesfaye — took to Twitter when his fourth album, After Hours, failed to secure any nods. “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency …” he wrote at the time.
An insider told Rolling Stone that the artist was snubbed due to conflict over whether he would be able to perform at both the Grammys and Super Bowl LV. The outlet reported that it was “eventually agreed upon that he would perform at both events. [The Recording Academy] had all these convos with The Weeknd’s team in the past month, and today, on November 24, the Weeknd had not one nomination and is now completely ignored by the Grammys.”
His recent single “Blinding Lights” is only one of five tracks to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts to not receive Grammys recognition in the last 30 years, according to the Associated Press.
“We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset. But I will say that we are constantly evolving,” Grammys interim president Harvey Mason Jr. told the New York Times of The Weeknd’s disappointment. “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 Recording Academy boss also noted that the event’s nomination review committees were established in 1989 “to eliminate the potential for a general-awareness bias that might favor artists who enjoy greater name recognition over emerging artists, independent music and late-year releases”.
The “Save Your Tears” singer isn’t the only music A-lister who has spoken out about the awards show lately. One Direction alum Zayn Malik slammed the even via Twitter on Tuesday, March 9. “F— the Grammys and everyone associated,” he wrote. “Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations. Next year I’ll send you a basket of confectionary.”
After fans started speculating that the U.K. native was subtly shading his ex-bandmate Harry Styles — who is nominated for three Grammy Awards this year, including Best Pop Vocal Album for Fine Line — Zayn clarified his sentiments hours later. “My tweet was not personal or about eligibility,” he wrote in a second tweet. “But was about the need for inclusion and the lack of transparency of the nomination process and the space that creates and allows favoritism, racism and networking politics to influence the voting process.”