Canadian pop star Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd boycotts the Grammys and will continue to do so going forward, refusing to attend or put his work forward for consideration. “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” he said in a statement to The New York Times.

The Weeknd now joins the ranks of artists like Drake and Frank Ocean, who have also previously criticised and boycotted the Grammys awards show.

After Hours, his most recent album, was one of the biggest albums of the year in 2020. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release in March. His single Blinding Lights broke chart records and drew critical acclaim and he also played the Super Bowl halftime show, one of the biggest events of the year.

Yet, the Weeknd got nothing when it came time for Grammy nominations. It was considered the biggest snub of the year by many people when the 2021 Grammy nominations were announced in November and one can understand why The Weeknd boycotts the Grammys.

Why is this? It is understood that this has to do with how the Grammy Award nominations are processed, a system that for years has been accused of bias against women and black artists. This system has been criticised as being unfair and out of touch by many artists. The last Black artist to win album of the year was Herbie Hancock in 2008.

Harvey Mason Jr., the interim president and CEO of the Recoding Academy, responded to The Weeknd’s decision by saying the awards ceremony was “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.”

So, who has the final say about who makes the cut? Apparently, the initial nominations are reviewed by anonymous expert committees. They review the choices by the thousands of music professionals who comprise the voting membership of the Recording Academy. They have the final say who makes the cut for 61 one of the Grammys 84 categories.

For the Weeknd, and other artists, the entire process has proved unacceptable. Drake has called for the Grammys to be replaced with “something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come”. 

In an Instagram post, Drake highlighted Lil Baby, Pop Smoke, Partynextdoor, Popcaan and “too many missing names to even name” as artists snubbed by the Recording Academy this year. He wrote: “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones who come after.”

Kanye West has not attended the ceremony since 2015, after criticising the Recording Academy for not nominating his albums. Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, has also recently criticised the Grammy nomination process and it looks like Justin Bieber appears to be doing the same.

The 2021 Grammys took place in Los Angeles. The ceremony featured performances from artists including Cardi B, Billie Eilish, Brittany Howard, Haim, Megan Thee Stallion, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift and was hosted by Trevor Noah.

David Crosby sells his music catalogue.