The Weeknd, Drake, Nicki Minaj & More Artists Who Have Called Out the Grammys
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March 29, 2021
Some of the biggest artists in music have had a long-standing gripe with Music’s Biggest Night.
The impetus behind their “f— the Grammys” tweets, “out of touch” commentary and more reflects the personal hurt they’ve suffered for their art not receiving the recognition they think it deserves. But it also speaks volumes to larger issues about the lack of gender and racial diversity within the winners’ circle as well as a perceived lack of transparency about the nomination process — issues that have plagued the Recording Academy over most of the 63 years it has been hosting the Grammy Awards.
But that would entail 63 years worth of artists to comb through, so Billboard decided to stick to the last five years of major acts who’ve taken the Grammys to task with critiques that frequently echo one another.
Below, find 26 artists who’ve been critical of the Grammy Awards in recent history.
The Weeknd decided to boycott the Grammys moving forward following his highly controversial shutout at the 2021 ceremony. The R&B superstar was thought to be a strong contender in the Big Four categories, including album of the year for his fourth LP After Hours, which spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as well as record of the year and song of the year for his blockbuster hit “Blinding Lights,” which broke Billboard chart records a year after its release. But on the morning of Nov. 24, 2020, when the 2021 Grammy Award nominations were revealed, The Weeknd’s name was nowhere to be found.
He initially expressed his frustration toward the Recording Academy by tweeting, “The Grammys remain corrupt.” In his second Twitter missive, he wrote that he went from planning a Grammys performance to being “not invited.” Kid Cudi, Tinashe, Scooter Braun and more industry folks came to The Weeknd’s defense.
The Weeknd stated in his Billboard cover story that in the 63 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won album of the year as lead artists: Stevie Wonder (in 1974, 1975 and 1977), Michael Jackson (1984), Lionel Richie (1985), Quincy Jones (1991), Natalie Cole (1992), Whitney Houston (1994), Lauryn Hill (1999), OutKast (2004), Ray Charles (2005) and Herbie Hancock (2008). The Weeknd, a three-time Grammy winner, noted that his snub in the top categories felt like “a sucker punch.” “It just kind of hit me out of nowhere. I definitely felt … I felt things. I don’t know if it was sadness or anger. I think it was just confusion,” he elaborated. “I just wanted answers. Like, ‘What happened?’ We did everything right, I think. I’m not a cocky person. I’m not arrogant. People told me I was going to get nominated. The world told me. Like, ‘This is it; this is your year.’ We were all very confused.”
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