The Weeknd Calls the Grammys ‘Corrupt’ — Grammys CEO Responds

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After failing to receive a Grammy nomination despite the immense commercial success of his After Hours album, The Weeknd has called the annual awards show “corrupt” – prompting the Recording Academy’s interim president and CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., to respond.

Yesterday, the Recording Academy unveiled the list of artists and professionals who’re in the running to take home Grammys in 2021. Expectedly, well-known creators like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, BTS, Harry Styles, Post Malone, and Billie Eilish (who swept the four main awards categories last year) received nominations. Moreover, Beyoncé garnered nine nominations, including for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year,” to Taylor Swift’s six nominations and Post Malone’s three nominations (for “Record of the Year,” “Album of the Year,” and “Song of the Year”).

A multitude of fans, fellow artists including Nicki Minaj, and The Weeknd himself quickly noticed that March’s After Hours had failed to receive a single nomination across the Grammys’ 83 awards categories. The 14-track album broke the Apple Music record for pre-loads, and according to the latest data from Spotify, fans have streamed its “Blinding Lights” single nearly 1.68 billion times – the seventh-highest play total of any song on the platform.

“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…” The Weeknd  wrote on Twitter yesterday evening. At the time of this piece’s publishing, the 30-year-old artist’s message had generated over 225,000 retweets and one million likes.

Recording Academy interim President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. responded to the tweet and the overarching claims in a statement, appearing to indicate that The Weeknd’s lack of nominations was a natural result of the Grammys’ voting process.

“We understand that the Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling,” said Mason Jr., who succeeded Deborah Dugan ahead of last year’s controversy-laden Grammy Awards. “His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration.”

Separately, The Weeknd and his followers have speculated that the Grammys snub resulted from the Toronto native’s agreeing to headline the Super Bowl LV halftime show, which will take place on February 7th, 2021 – one week following the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. Harvey Mason Jr. also dismissed this theory, emphasizing that the voting process concluded well before The Weeknd’s halftime-show set was announced.

“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,” said Harvey Mason Jr. “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.”

Worth noting, however, is that the halftime-show wheels were likely in motion long before the public announcement, with Roc Nation founder Jay-Z – husband to Beyoncé, who received the most 2021 Grammy nominations, once again – having played a key role in organizing the happening, given his company’s partnership with the National Football League.

Following Harvey Mason Jr.’s comments, The Weeknd doubled down on his position – and criticism – in another tweet today.

“Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited?  In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!” he wrote.

Last month, as part of its comprehensive reorganization plan, the Recording Academy laid off 13 additional staff members. And at November’s start, the organization revealed that it would rename the “Best World Music Album” award category “Best Global Music Album” to avoid “connotations of colonialism.”

11 Responses

  1. Rogue TruthBringer

    The Weekend is crying over what? He’s wealthy and has many awards. Some artists, full of themselves, easily forget where they were. Just because you had great numbers doesn’t mean everyone in the voting ring considers you King; what fans think of you and what your peers think of you won’t always be of equal measure. And Nicki Minaj need to sit down. I think is sick that the music industry still supports a woman (adored by children and young girls) who wrote her brother’s judge (convicted of repeatedly raping a child) a letter basically stating he is a great guy in hopes that her celebrity would help him get a lighter sentence. In addition, she’s dating, and recently had a child by an alleged sex offender. Wow. The “METOO” group doesn’t want you to buy R. Kelly’s music’ but it’s OK to buy Nicki Minaj? It’s obvious that there are people who work in the music industry who still need Nicki to help pay their bills, which explains why the media continues to promote her at the cost of looking like thirsty-hypocrits. It’s all just sick.

    • Neil

      Crying? While you may view it that way, the Grammys has been a corrupt agency to promote what’s good for the few, for a long time. The Weekend is just telling it like it is. He wasn’t asking for something for himself, but for music, in general – transparency. Harvey looks foolish in his response, placing blame and using ego as the motive. For far too long, has Harvey (backed by crooked, on-the-take attorney, Joel Katz) been a talking head. Deborah Dugan didn’t play long with shit and she hit the fan, but they paid her out handsomely (although not publicly disclosed). Facts matter. It’s too bad the industry is devouring itself, gluttonously.

      • Susan Bettes

        If I ever had any doubts about the grammys corruption, it was confirmed when I saw Blue Ivy was nominated. Come on!

    • Anonymous

      he’s not crying, he is fighting for what he rightfully deserves, and it’s a shame that he had to even fight for it. the facts is the facts and you were probably paid to leave a response, because real people would not say something like what you wrote.

      • Opie

        Rightfully deserves? That’s rich. The AMAs are based upon sales. The Billboard Awards are based upon charting. The Grammys are based upon peer review and voting.

  2. Death Rattle

    If You Know It’s Corrupt Why Submit?

    I Left Grammy This Year

    The Academy Doesn’t Vote For People Like This Guy Or Any Industry Act

    Their All Absolute Shit

    Never Sign

  3. Sik Skillz

    blinding lights is the top song of the year, i can’t image anyone can match the emotional impact and shear mass appeal of that song. think if that is not getting any awards, it’s got to be rigged and no one can use any amount of words to change the facts, it’s so impactful that even older white people are fans of the song. you can find a better song this year that has this kind of mass appeal worldwide. it’s a fact. i listen to and make all types of songs, from rap to pop to latin. trust me, even the rap song loving people feel this song. it’s got everything and more. Sik Skillz.

  4. Paul Lanning

    The Grammys have always been a pantload, but they at least used to generate sales and pump up store traffic. Used to.