When the 2021 Grammy nominations were announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24, there was one major artist noticeably absent from the ballots: The Weeknd. Despite having a huge year following the March 20 release of his fourth studio album, Blinding Lights, not to mention the success of the record's singles like "Blinding Lights" and "Heartless," The Weeknd was still snubbed by the Recording Academy. Now, The Weeknd's tweet calling out The Grammys' for "corruption" says what a lot of fans are thinking.
The Weeknd and his fans' hard feelings toward the Grammys following the snub aren't without warrant. The singer broke a Billboard Hot 100 record in November after his smash hit "Blinding Lights" spent 40 weeks in the top 10, making it the longest-running song to remain in the top 10. The record was previously held by Post Malone, whose "Circles" reigned for 39 weeks.
That was just one of The Weeknd's big accolades of 2020. Earlier this year, he snagged VMAs for Video of the Year and Best R&B, and After Hours won Favorite Soul/R&B Album at the American Music Awards. If all of this — plus his multiple performances — in 2020 doesn't tell you enough about The Weeknd's success this year, his tweet will.
After being snubbed on Nov. 24, The Weeknd hit back at the Recording Academy, tweeting: "The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency..."
What's more confusing for fans, and likely The Weeknd himself, is the fact that Justin Bieber scored three nominations in Pop categories — Best Pop Solo Performance for “Yummy,” Best Pop Duo/Group Performance “Intentions” ft. Quavo, and Best Pop Vocal Album — despite the fact that his Changes album skewed more R&B, while After Hours was arguably more of a pop record.
Bieber, like The Weeknd, called out the Recording Academy, writing on Instagram:
I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry. I am very meticulous and intentional about my music. With that being said, I set out to make an R&B album. Changes was and is an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album which is very strange to me ... For this not to be put in that category feels weird considering from the chords to the melodies to the vocal style all the way down to the hip hop drums that were chosen it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B Album!
Fans weren't so thrilled with Bieber's post because, although he did make a good point about his album's genre not necessarily being pop, he didn't spare a thought for what critics say is the bigger issue at play: that the Recording Academy seemingly divides its categories along racial lines rather than genre, and artists of color are, more often than not, the ones left with no recognition.
It's clear there is a lot of confusion happening around the 2021 Grammy nominations, but fans will have to sit tight to see if the Recording Academy responds or not.