R&B superstar The Weeknd said he will boycott future Grammy Awards after he was snubbed for this year’s ceremony.
The Canadian singer enjoyed a hugely successful 2020 thanks to his chart-topping album After Hours. He also performed at the Super Bowl in February, perhaps the biggest pop music moment of the year.
However, The Weeknd’s commercial success did not translate into Grammy recognition and he did not receive a single nod when nominations were announced in November.
The 31-year-old stated his dissatisfaction at the time and has now gone a step further, announcing he is boycotting future ceremonies.
In a statement to the New York Times, the three-time Grammy-winner said: “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
Committees play a key role in nominations and the process has long been criticised for alleged bias, with detractors saying artists of colour have been poorly represented in the top awards.
Voting committees are made up of anonymous experts from the Recording Academy, the body which oversees the Grammys.
Committee members have to declare any conflicts of interest and have term limits, according to the official Grammy rulebook.
For the general field categories – including record, album and song of the year – nomination review committees consist of at least 20 experts who are voting members of the Recording Academy and approved by trustees.
They then review the top 20 selections resulting from a general membership vote and select the eight nominees for each category.
Organisers say the process protects the integrity of the awards, but critics argue it leaves the committees unaccountable.
Responding to The Weeknd’s statement, Harvey Mason Jr, a producer and songwriter serving as the Recording Academy’s interim chief executive, said the organisation is “constantly changing”.
He told the New York Times: “We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset. 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.”
Since 2010, a time when the music industry has been dominated by hip hop, only one non-white artist – Bruno Mars in 2018 – has won album of the year at the Grammys.
Responding to his snub in November, The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, said: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”
Other black stars to criticise the awards show include Drake, Kanye West and Frank Ocean.
Beyonce leads the way in nominations ahead of the 63rd Grammy Awards, with nine.
The Recording Academy has been contacted for comment.