The Weeknd Calls The Recording Academy "Corrupt" Over Grammys Snub

The Weeknd made it clear on Twitter that Grammy voters "owe" him after he was shockingly shut out of the 2021 nominations.

By Ryan Gajewski Nov 25, 2020 2:29 AMTags
Watch: The Weeknd Calls Out Recording Academy After Grammys Snub

The Weeknd has a word or two about getting snubbed by the Grammys. 

The biggest shocker of the 2021 Grammy nominations that were announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24, was the complete absence of The Weeknd and his massive album, After Hours. Clearly, the artist himself was not pleased.

"The Grammys remain corrupt," the 30-year-old performer tweeted later that day. "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency..."

He certainly wasn't the only artist to question the nomination process. Teyana Taylor posted the all-male list of the five nominees for this year's Best R&B Album and tweeted, "Y'all was better off just saying best MALE R&B ALBUM cause all I see is d--k in this category."

Following The Weeknd's tweet, The Recording Academy interim president and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. released a statement congratulating the nominees, along with acknowledging that this year saw a record number of submissions.

Grammys 2021: First-Time Nominees

"We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated," Harvey said in the statement. "I was surprised and can empathize with what he's feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone's admiration."

The statement also refuted a previous TMZ report citing sources who described tense negotiations between The Weeknd and the Academy over whether the singer would perform at the Grammys ceremony or the Super Bowl halftime show. The TMZ story claimed that his choice to perform at the annual NFL title game led to soured feelings among Grammy brass that may have impacted voting.

"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," Harvey continued. "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."

Harvey had told Variety shortly after nominations were announced that he doesn't believe that the lack of nominations for The Weeknd implies a flawed voting process. He explained that decisions on the nominees for the four top "core" awards—Best Album, Song, Record and New Artist—come down to the tastes of a voting body of around 20 people. 

Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

"We look at it every year and make tweaks and revisions to the process; we did it this year, last year, we'll do it next year," Harvey said. "And I don't think this calls it into question, honestly. The process is there so we can continue to monitor excellence. I was in the 'core room' this year and I observed, and the people that were in it are music professionals—they are excellent, at the top of their craft in songwriting and producing, and there are a lot of artists. They were critically listening to every song that came across their desks—or virtual desks—so I don't think it shows a flaw in the process."

Harvey also pointed out that the voting group for each of the core awards is only selecting from among 20 shortlisted candidates previously chosen by the general voters. He declined to comment on whether The Weeknd, who has previously won three Grammys, made it to this year's shortlist. 

Music fans clearly appreciated After Hours far more than voters appear to have. The album, which was released in March, topped the Billboard 200 chart for four consecutive weeks and produced two No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights."