No, the Weeknd is not over his Grammys snub. Ahead of the 2021 Grammys this Sunday, March 14, the Weeknd announced that he’s boycotting the awards from now on. “Because of the secret committees,” the After Hours artist said in a statement to the New York Times, “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.” He’s referring to the anonymous “expert” committees, who have final say on the nominees after the voting body of music professionals cast their votes. In all but the top four categories — album, record, and song of the year, plus best new artist — committee members can even add nominees that voters did not select, per official rules. According to the Recording Academy’s interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr., the committees help “eliminate the potential for a general-awareness bias that might favor artists who enjoy greater name recognition over emerging artists, independent music and late-year releases,” but the lack of transparency makes artists suspicious about the process.
“We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset,” Mason said in response to the Weeknd’s statement. “But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees.” Mason, who took over when the Academy’s first female chief executive Deborah Dugan was ousted days before last year’s ceremony, said the committees are kept anonymous to prevent industry lobbying and stan harassment. Dugan herself accused the committees of favoring artists with connections to board members in a memo sent to the board three weeks before she was placed on administrative leave. Mason declined to comment on these allegations to the Times. The Weeknd’s decision, following in the footsteps of Frank Ocean, could inspire more artists to give up on the institution. “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,” the Weeknd’s manager Wassim Slaiby told the Times over email. “This is Harvey’s chance to step up and have his legacy be the guy who got the Grammys finally right.”