The Grammys are facing yet another round of criticism, this time for asking Tiffany Haddish to host a pre-event ceremony but declining to pay the actress and comedian — or even cover any expenses.
In a recent interview, The Last O.G. star Tiffany Haddish spoke of the decidedly stingy Grammys hosting offer. According to the 41-year-old, who appeared in the music video for Jason Mraz’s “You Do You” earlier this year, the Recording Academy requested that she host the three-hour function both without compensation and without reimbursement for costs including hair, makeup, and clothing.
Haddish characterized the lowball proposition as “disrespectful,” besides noting that the public stance could affect her chances of receiving Grammy nominations in the future. The Primetime Emmy Award winner has secured two Grammy nominations to date, including one for the upcoming ceremony, scheduled for January 31st, 2021.
And while Haddish recognized the “amazing” exposure afforded by the Grammys – which has experienced ratings declines in recent years, like other music awards shows, but nevertheless drew about 18.7 million viewers back in January – she proceeded to state that the lack of pay is “not okay.”
Addressing Haddish’s firmly worded criticism in a statement, the Recording Academy reiterated that Grammys hosts and performers have traditionally accepted the gigs without compensation. Subsequently, however, the Recording Academy’s interim president, Harvey Mason Jr., spoke of the matter in an Instagram video.
“So it’s just been brought to my attention that the Recording Academy invited Tiffany Haddish to host this year’s Premiere Ceremony,” said the 52-year-old Mason Jr. “Unfortunately, and without me knowing, a talent booker working for the Academy told Ms. Haddish that we wouldn’t even cover her costs while she hosted this event for us.
“To me that was wrong. I’m frustrated by that decision,” continued the Boston native, whose first anniversary at the helm of the Recording Academy is about a month away. “Thankfully, Ms. Haddish was gracious enough to allow me to have a conversation with her. I apologized to her personally. I apologized to her from the Academy. … Tiffany, we are sorry.”
At the time of publishing, Tiffany Haddish hadn’t broached the topic (and specifically Mason Jr.’s apology) on social media. This latest twist arrives on the heels of considerable pushback from both fans and artists concerning the Grammys’ nomination process. Despite releasing commercially successful albums on the year, The Weeknd (who will headline the Super Bowl halftime show) and Halsey failed to receive a single nomination for the 2021 event.
Others in the music community joined the two in critiquing the snub, and Ellie Goulding went as far as penning a piece questioning the purpose of awards shows in the contemporary music industry. Separately, some data suggests that the influence of (and fan interest in) the 61-year-old Grammy Award could be waning.
And in a broader sense, these developments follow a controversy-laden 2020 Grammys, which saw former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan levy a lawsuit – and all manner of shocking allegations – against the awards show and its host non-profit organization. Beyoncé, who received the most nominations of any artist for the upcoming show, didn’t even bother to accept her Grammy (for “Best Music Film”) last year.