The Weeknd is officially boycotting the Grammys, the singer told The New York Times.
The pop star said he will no longer submit songs for the music industry’s most prestigious annual awards show after it declined to nominate him for a single accolade for his hit single “Blinding Lights,” which has spent 52 weeks in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The news comes as the organization behind the Grammys is facing scrutiny over its secretive voting system and alleged biases against Black and female artists. The 63rd annual event will air this Sunday.
CNN has reached out to The Weeknd for comment.
The singer has taken issue in particular with the lack of transparency on the voting process for the most coveted awards. Nominations are chosen by members of the Recording Academy, a Santa Monica, California-based nonprofit whose membership is composed of industry artists, producers and executives and other staffers.
But since 1995, the most coveted Grammy awards — including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year — have been chosen by a secret committee of academy members, according to Billboard.
The committee process was originally put in place to ensure the final nominations were more progressive and “musically adventurous,” Billboard reported. But the process has come under fire in recent years in response to Black artists like The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar repeatedly getting snubbed in so-called “Big Four” Grammy categories.
Only four Black artists have won top Grammys over the last nine years. The last Black performer to win Album of the Year was pianist Herbie Hancock in 2008.A USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study unveiled Tuesday found Black performers represented about 38% of all artists on Billboard Hot 100 from 2012 to 2020, but they only received about 27% of top Grammy nominations during that span. And just 24% of this year’s top Grammy nominees are Black. They include Beyoncé, who this year has been nominated for nine Grammys, including Record of the Year for “Savage,” along with rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and Song of the Year for “Black Parade,” her audio love letter to the African diaspora. Asked by the Times why he’s boycotting, the Weeknd said: “Because of the secret committees.” “Blinding Lights” is one of only five Billboard No. 1 songs in the last 30 years not receive a Grammy nod, according to the Associated Press. The album on which the song appears, “After Hours,” was also snubbed. The Toronto-born pop star, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, isn’t the only artist calling out the music industry’s most prestigious awards show ahead of its 63rd annual broadcast on Sunday. British singer and songwriter Zayn Malik tweeted out an expletive-filled disapproval of the Grammys, accusing the show of playing favorites after it declined to nominate him for “Nobody Is Listening,” his third studio album.
“F– the Grammys and everyone associated,” Malik wrote. “Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations. Next year I’ll send you a basket of confectionary.” Malik said his tweet wasn’t personal, but “was about the need for inclusion and the lack of transparency of the nomination process and the space that creates and allows favoritism, racism, and networking politics to influence the voting process.”