Just days after the Recording Academy announced that it was scrapping its controversial Grammy nomination review committees, The Weeknd said he will still be boycotting the awards. Before this year’s Grammy Awards — where he was shut out of nominations for his best-selling After Hours album — the singer born Abel Tesfaye slammed the nominating process as unfair and announced that he was boycotting the show going forward.
In particular, he called out the “secret committees” that pushed his hand in the decision. In a statement to The New York Times on Monday (May 3) the singer acknowledged the change toward more transparency, but remained unmoved.
“Even though I won’t be submitting my music, the Grammys’ recent admission of corruption will hopefully be a positive move for the future of this plagued award and give the artist community the respect it deserves with a transparent voting process,” the Weeknd said in a statement about the Grammy Awards ending the reliance on a panel of unnamed committee members in deciding the final list of names on ballots in dozens of major categories.
As Billboard reported in March, rank-and-file Grammy voters determine the final nominees in just 12 of 84 categories. In 59 categories, however, nominations review committees had the final say in determining the nominees. (The final nominations in the remaining 13 categories are determined by so-called “craft committees.”) The decision to end the committees paves the way for rank-and-file Grammy voters to have final say.
In a statement to Variety, The Weeknd expanded on his break with the academy, describing the decision as a move forward, but not a solution. “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 the magazine, again saying he would not offer his music up for the awards. He added, “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. 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 singer’s manager, Wassim “Sal” Slaiby weighed in as well, telling Variety, “No change comes without a voice heard. I’m just proud of Abel for standing up for what he believes in. I was in a shock when all this happened, but now I see it clearly, and I’m glad we stood for our beliefs.”
The Grammy committees were launched in 1989 and in recent years they’ve come under fire from some artists and executives who think that the academy’s aggressive efforts to expand and diversify its membership in recent years makes the need for the review committees less relevant than they were more than 25 years ago.