The Weeknd has said he will boycott future Grammy Awards after being snubbed in this year’s nominations.
The Canadian pop star Weeknd, whose single Blinding Lights was the biggest-seller in the world last year, was not shortlisted for a single award.
He later called the lack of recognition “an attack”.
In a new statement ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, the singer said: “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
He said he would remain absent from the event until the Recording Academy, which organises the awards, got rid of the “secret committees” that decide many of the nominations.
The Grammys voting procedures are notoriously opaque, with review committees having the final say in 72 of the 83 categories.
The anonymous panels, which can include musicians, record label staff and experts, review the initial choices of the Grammy voters and have the final say over who makes the shortlist.
Organisers say they are vital to ensuring the awards are balanced, but many artists are suspicious about a procedure that means votes can be overruled.
Earlier this week, former One Direction star Zayn Malik criticised the “lack of transparency of the nomination process“, saying the current system “allows favouritism, racism, and networking politics to influence the voting”.
The Weeknd isn’t the first artist to withdraw. Drake declined to submit his 2018 album More Life for Grammys consideration, while Frank Ocean chose not to participate in 2017.
“I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated,” he said. “I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”
Responding to The Weeknd’s statement, the Recording Academy’s acting chief executive Harvey Mason Jr said the organisation was “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.”
The 63rd Grammys will take place in Los Angeles this Sunday, with performances from Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.
Beyonce leads the way with nine nominations, while Taylor Swift is favourite to pick up the coveted album of the year award, for her first lockdown record Folklore.
If she wins, Swift will become the first woman to scoop the best album prize three times. Only three other artists have done it before – Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
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