“Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
The statement comes after the artist’s album After Hours failed to receive any nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards, despite achieving commercial and critical success. After the awards ended, The Weeknd called for greater transparency on the part of the academy in a tweet; the academy responded by explaining the minutia of its committee system, which has been criticized for the secrecy and anonymity surrounding its process and the resulting lack of accountability.
A lot of The Weeknd’s fellow musicians sided with Abel, like Drake, Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Jay-Z, who have also raised issues with the Grammys over the years. The musicians also criticized the Grammys for the lack of award recognition for artists of color: something the Weeknd also raised in a January interview on the subject. ”In the last 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won album of the year,” he told Billboard, “I don’t want to make this about me. That’s just a fact.”
“The Grammys should handle their legacy and clean it up to raise the bar to a level where everyone could be proud to hold up that award,” he said. “This is [Recording Academy Chairman Harvey Mason Jr.]‘s chance to step up and have his legacy be the guy who got the Grammys finally right,” said Wassim Slaiby, The Weeknd’s manager, to The New York Times via email. He and Abel hopes this moment will encourage and inspire others to push back against the academy.