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The Weeknd calls Grammys 'corrupt,' slams lack of 'transparency' after nominations shutout

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 11/25/2020 Tyler Aquilina
The Weeknd wearing a blue shirt: Nabil Elderkin © Provided by Entertainment Weekly Nabil Elderkin

The Weeknd is not happy about being shut out of the 2021 Grammys.

The "Blinding Lights" singer was one of the most notable snubs of this year's crop of nominees, earning zero nods despite the commercial success and generally positive reception of his 2020 album After Hours, and he registered his displeasure on Twitter Tuesday evening.

"The Grammys remain corrupt," the Weeknd wrote. "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…"

"We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated," Recording Academy chief Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement to EW. "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."

As for reports that the Grammys issued an ultimatum to the Weeknd, saying he had to choose between performing at the ceremony or at the Super Bowl, Mason said, "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. Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community. 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. All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all.”

The Weeknd wearing a blue shirt: The Weeknd is not happy about being shut out of the 2021 Grammys. © Provided by Entertainment Weekly The Weeknd is not happy about being shut out of the 2021 Grammys.

The Grammys have often been criticized in the past for a perceived bias against Black artists in the Big Four categories. The Song and Record of the Year awards went to a rap song for the first time ever in 2019, with Childish Gambino's "This Is America" taking both trophies. Black musicians including Drake, Frank Ocean, and Diddy have also been outspoken in their criticism of the awards.

Earlier this year, the Recording Academy announced it was eliminating the word "urban" from all but one category, following outcry from artists like Tyler, the Creator, who said their music was categorized as "urban" because of their race.

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