Canadian-Eritrean musician, The Weeknd, isn’t too happy with receiving zero nominations for the 2021 Grammys, and he laid bare his feelings in a tweet on Wednesday, labeling the Recording Academy as “corrupt.”
The singer’s snub came as a shock to many as he had a stellar year under review. His After Hours album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 after its release, selling over 444,000 equivalent album units in the United States in its first week. The album has also been streamed over 20 million times, according to CBS News. His Blinding Lights hit single was also in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 40 weeks – a record breaking feat.
To add to that, the singer has scooped several awards this year, including winning video of the year for Blinding Lights at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. At Sunday’s American Music Awards, he also won soul/R&B male artist, favorite soul/R&B album and favorite soul/R&B song for Heartless.
Responding to the Grammys snub on Wednesday, the Often singer, born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, tweeted: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”
Following his surprise omission, sources reportedly claimed the Recording Academy snubbed him after both parties couldn’t find common ground with regards to him performing at the awards show, Billboard reported.
Per the sources:
There were many conversations between the Grammys and The Weeknd team about his performance slated for the 2021 Grammys. There was an ultimatum given resulting in a struggle over him also playing the Super Bowl that went on for some time and [it] was eventually agreed upon that he would perform at both events. The Grammys had their nomination ballots as of Oct. 12 and 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. This was the year that they were supposed to rise up. What is the process and where is the transparency?
In a statement to Billboard, the Recording Academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., said the singer’s omission had nothing to do with the allegations.
“We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling,” he said. “His music this year was excellent…We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before …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 followed it up with a phonecall to further clarify: “First of all, the Super Bowl performance is [one week] after our show, so at no time would we be upset if he were to perform on the Super Bowl…Our show producer, Ben Winston, and CBS had some preliminary conversations. We would have loved to have him on our stage. I think he was working toward that happening.”
Responding to the allegations of the they being corrupt, Mason said: “It saddened me. I try to empathize with where that came from, but it was difficult to hear. I can understand he’s disappointed [at being shut out]. Everybody at the academy understands that he’s disappointed. I was personally surprised that he was not nominated.”
Though Mason said he spoke with The Weeknd’s representatives and his label following the backlash, he did not reveal the details of the conversation. Later on Wednesday, however, the three-time Grammy award winner followed his earlier tweet with another post, saying he wasn’t even invited to the event even though they were both earlier planning his performance.
“Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!,” he tweeted.
The Recording Academy has, in recent times, been criticized for lack of diversity and not giving deserving Black musicians their due. After the nominees list was released on Tuesday, Nicki Minaj threw shade at them by referencing losing the Best New Artist 8 years ago despite her success at the time.
“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,” she tweeted. “They gave it to the white man Bon Iver.”