Recording Academy Interim President Harvey Mason Jr. has responded to the backlash following the snub and said he understands that The Weeknd "is disappointed at not being nominated." Mason Jr. admits that he was also surprised by the outcome and can empathize with the Canadian singer's feelings.
Mason Jr. addressed the media reports circulating that suggested The Weeknd's snub was tied to a disagreement between the Recording Academy and the "In Your Eyes" singer over his Super Bowl halftime show."His music this year was excellent... We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl, and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before," Mason Jr. told Billboard. "To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd's performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process."
Mason Jr. denied any wrongdoing by the Grammy organization. He added that there are fewer nominations every single year than the number of deserving artists, adding that the committee will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music
.He also told the outlet that seeing The Weeknd characterizing the Grammys as "corrupt" saddened him. "It saddened me. I try to empathize with where that came from, but it was difficult to hear. I can understand he’s disappointed [at being shut out]," he said. "Everybody at the academy understands that he’s disappointed. I was personally surprised that he was not nominated."
Mason Jr. has reached out to The Weeknd's reps and label to discuss the elephant in the room, but he thinks the conversations should stay between them.
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The Recording Academy has declined to reveal whether "Blinding Lights" was among the selection of songs for the voting members to choose from in the Record and Song of the Year categories. The song recently set a new record for most weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with *clears throat* 40 weeks, including 4 non-consecutive weeks in the No. 1 spot. The Academy also declined to share whether his album After Hours was among the top 20 vote-getters in the Album of the Year category. But that being said, the Academy has never shared who is on the initial lists from which the committee picks the final noms so why would they start to now?
Mason Jr. said that he thought "Blinding Lights" "had a shot [at winning] as well," but here we are.
According to Billboard, The Academy did reveal that The Weeknd's camp entered After Hours in the Best Progressive R&B Album category, which used to be "urban contemporary," but during the screening process, the album was moved to the Best Pop Vocal Album category. We bet Justin Bieber would have appreciated the opposite move for Changes after his announcement yesterday, declaring “it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B Album!”
The Weeknd responded to Mason Jr.'s comments on Wednesday in another tweet. "Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you're not invited!"
The Weeknd isn't the only artist that was snubbed by the Grammy nominations. R&B priestess Teyana Taylor took aim at the Recording Academy for having no female nominees in this year's Best R&B Album category. "Y'all was better off just saying best MALE R&B ALBUM cause all I see is d--k in this category," she tweeted.
Taylor released The Album in June 2020, which makes it eligible for this year's nominations, but the Recording Academy thought differently. Even Sir Elton John praised Taylor while appearing in an Instagram Live video with her after collaborating on her track "Lose Each Other." He called the music video "empowering" and "a piece of art," before adding that what she does in the video "was so beautiful."
"Normal videos have people shaking their booties, and this was a piece of art. You weren’t shaking anything. It means a lot," stated Sir Elton.
TL;DR: We need a re-do on the 2021 Grammy nominations because The Weeknd and Teyana Taylor deserve multiple nods.