The Weeknd Joins in Boycott and Criticism of the Grammys


via BBC

Dominic Rascati, Staff Writer

Canadian singer, The Weeknd, has joined a boycott of the Grammy Awards, adding to a list of critics of the ceremony and a long history of tension between artists and the award institution. The announcement came via a statement from The Weeknd to the New York Times shortly before the 63rd Grammys ceremony this past weekend. In it, the singer said his label would no longer present his music to the Grammys for consideration “[b]ecause of the secret committees.”  

These secret committees are anonymous panels that examine thousands of votes by professionals across the music industry. Ultimately, these committees decide who does and does not get nominated for awards. While some view these committees as a necessary check on the institution, countless others see them as aloof bodies that go against the voters with no accountability in their decisions.

Additionally, many have claimed that the Grammys exclude women and Black artists for years. Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and now The Weeknd have all expressed disappointment and frustration with the ceremony. 

Harvey Mason Jr., currently chief executive for the Grammys, has responded to The Weeknd, saying they are “disappointed when anyone is upset,” yet “constantly evolving” and taking “a hard look at how to improve.” Current changes being implemented include a diversity officer, thousands of new hires, and a new group of advisors called the Black Music Collective. 

Outside of the Grammys, The Weeknd has had a massive wave of recent success. His single, “Blinding Lights,” off his 2020 album, After Hours, set new records on the charts. The album as a whole has also received wide praise. As a topper, The Weeknd was most recently the halftime performer at this past Super Bowl. Many, including The Weeknd himself, were taken aback when the Grammys did not give him a single nomination.

Time will tell whether the changes being made to the Grammys will genuinely prove to be enough. The Weeknd seemingly will continue to have a successful music career without them. He is not the first and certainly will not be the last.