The Weeknd Boycotts the Grammys

The Weeknd Boycotts the Grammys

The Grammys are a long-running tradition of 63 years that consists of fun performances, victories, and fashion; but, how much do we really know about the Grammy Awards behind the scenes? Many artists took the stage with great performances and many first-time wins. Billie Eilish took home an award for record of the year, and Taylor Swift made a comeback with winning album of the year for Folklore. Megan Thee Stallion took home her first three Grammy Awards, and Beyonce won four awards, giving her a total of twenty-eight in her lifetime. She now holds the record for most Grammy awards won by a female artist.

Although we received great performances from many talented artists such as Cardi B and Harry Styles, some of the most popular and successful artists were missing from the big night. Singer and songwriter The Weeknd has had a big year with his single “Blinding Lights,” setting a record by staying in Billboard’s Hot 100’s top 10 list for over a year. He also performed in this year’s Super Bowl. The Weeknd is definitely a fan favorite and a very respected musician, but when it came to Grammy nominations, he received none. Fans and The Weeknd himself were upset when the Grammy nominations came out in November of 2020.

After the nominations were released and The Weeknd was absent from the list, he tweeted, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You own [sic] me, my fans, and the industry transparency,” and, “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my music to submit to the Grammys.”

The Weeknd say that he is boycotting the Grammys because of the repetitive lack of POC representation and recognition at these big award shows. The Weeknd, as well as other artists such as Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Drake, have expressed their unhappiness with the lack of representation. The strong resurgence Black Lives Matter movement this past summer was especially impactful for artists in the Black community, drawing extra attention to many longstanding racial issues. One of the issues included in this is the representation of, or lack thereof, Black excellence in the media. Many POC artists released impactful and successful albums and songs this year; however, they still were not given as much recognition at the award show as some think that they deserved.

The Weeknd has realized the trend of the Grammy’s lack of recognition to people of color for top awards. The last time a Black artist won album of the year was in 2008. Back in 2017, Beyonce’s popular album Lemonade lost all of its nominations to Adele, and, in recent years, both Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar have had their music overlooked at the Grammy Awards. Black artists only won 24% of this year’s top awards, and it only takes one hand to count the number of Black artists who won an award in the Big Four categories over the past decade.

“I think that it is extremely important for there to be POC representation in all parts of the music industry. Most trends of hip hop, rap, and music, in general have come from origins of African American culture,” said Josephine Barry, ’23.

Despite their importance in the development of music over the years, Black artists still lack proper representation from major organizations such as the Grammy Awards. The Weeknd has expressed his discontent by boycotting the award show, but he is also part of a larger group of major artists who have struggled with being overlooked in the past. As of now, the best one can do is hope that changes are made in the years to come for artists of color.