The Weeknd accuses the Grammys of corruption

Alex Mulhare

The Weeknd has accused the Grammys of corruption after he failed to receive any nominations in this year’s awards. He voiced his frustration on Twitter, saying “the Grammys remain corrupt.  “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency”, he tweeted. 

The Weeknd has received support from various other artists, including Drake, Kid Cudi and Elton John, who each echoed his anger through various social media platforms.

If you’ve turned on a radio, opened a trending Spotify playlist, or even just downloaded TikTok this year, chances are that you’ve heard at least one song from After Hours. It would almost be an understatement to say that The Weeknd’s most recent album has dominated the sound waves of 2020.

After Hours was also the subject of near-universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. It is widely regarded as The Weeknd’s best artistic endeavour to date, so it is little wonder that he was expecting to receive a Grammy nomination for his work.

The lead single, “Blinding Lights”, broke a Billboard Charts record in September for the longest number of weeks spent in the top five songs, claiming the spot for 28 consecutive weeks. A big hit, the song become a cultural phenomenon after a combination of global quarantine and Tiktok.

Throughout the early months of this year, TikTok users choreographed a dance to go along with The Weeknd’s hit song, resulting in countless people streaming the song as the backing track to their dance videos.

The chief of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., has stated that he sympathises with the anger The Weeknd is feeling and acknowledged that he had made valuable contributions to the music industry in the past year. “Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists,” he added.  

This album, however, raised the question about what particular genre The Weeknd now falls into. It could easily be said that he is no longer producing solely R&B tracks, as there are far too many pop elements for that to still be true at this point.

Perhaps in an instance of history repeating itself, many have pointed out the fact that Michael Jackson was famously snubbed for Bad, even though it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

Since the Grammys was founded in 1957, only ten black artists have won the Artist of the Year Award. There is continued controversy around the fact that black artists often only receive awards within racialised categories such as rap and R&B, suggesting that there is an element of systemic racism in the way in which the awards are organised.

 The 2021 Grammy Awards are set to take place on January 31.

Alex Mulhare

Image Credit: Record Republic