The Weeknd has reacted to the Grammy Awards rule changes the Recording Academy revealed on Friday, and he was not favorable, even though one of the changes removes the “secret” nomination-review committees that were central to him being shut out of all the 2021 nominations, reported Variety.
“The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organization and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag,” he told Variety.
“I think the industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated, but it’s an important start,” he added. “I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting in the future.”
The Weeknd slammed the awards ceremony last year after his record-breaking “After Hours” album was shut out from the nominations, and he swore that he would no longer submit any of his music to be considered.
“Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” he said.
While alleging that the Recording Academy and their award show was “corrupt,” the singer also chastised the organization for not being more “transparent” in their selection of talent.
He tweeted,“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency….”
Interim Grammy chief Harvey Mason Jr. told Variety that before the Grammys’ rebuff of The Weeknd, he had already spent months working to get rid of the committees. While he did not outright say the Weeknd’s boycott of the show was influential in his decisions, he did imply it was somewhat significant. “Anytime an artist, especially one of that stature, calls our process into question or thinks something is unfair … the Academy is of course going to be affected by that, and want to work to make things better.”
Variety posited that the snub was related to resistance to the Weeknd being set to perform at both the Super Bowl and the Grammys, initially planned to occur a week from one another. The situation was said to be settled by all involved, but that was forgotten once The Weeknd was shut out of the Grammys.
“They engaged with us very heavily and at length to be a part of their show and then everything stopped,” The Weeknd’s manager, Wassim “Sal” Slaiby told Variety. He said that Mason “claimed that he’d look into it and get back to us. Never heard a word back on that one.”
Slaibly expressed a desire to see real change from the Academy, an institution he said has been operating dishonestly for some time. “I want to see a fair and accountable process be put into place and held to that new standard that is set forth. This is their chance to make this iconic award mean something again and have credibility. To the new CEO I would just implore that they run this right and step away from old school backdoor politics that have plagued the Grammys for years. Be fresh and operate with honor.”
With the committees gone, that means the Grammy nominees for the main categories will be selected by the general Academy electorate, and 90 percent of the voters will go through a “requalification process” by the end of 2021 “to ensure that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation,” Variety reported.
The other amendments, which “reflect [the Academy’s] ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape and to ensure that the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable,” include a reduction in the number of voter categories, and two additional Grammy Award categories.