Drama behind Grammy nominations/wins is nothing new. Throughout David Bowie’s illustrious near 50 year career, he only won five Grammys, four of which he received after he died (not counting those “special awards” and lifetime achievement nods). Prince took home only two more Grammys than Mr. Bowie. When Nicki Minaj first made her mark in music, she was passed up for a Best New Artist Grammy, despite being one of the biggest names in Hip Hop.
Those of you that have rocked with me for a while remember how folks were all in their feelings when Bruno Mars (my future husband) swept the 2018 Grammys, beating out Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Childish Gambino and Lorde for the big awards of the night (Jay-Z was nominated for eight awards that year and lost every category). In that particular case, the hate toward Bruno himself was undeserved, but I digress. Considering how crazy 2020 has been, the nominations for the 2021 Grammys are no exception to the drama surrounding the institution.
When I first locked myself away in quarantine, one of the few things that gave me comfort in the midst of non-stop news about gloom and doom was The Weeknd’s After Hours album. I’ve always loved The Weeknd, but he really outdid himself with After Hours. It’s a project that contains infectious tracks that completely immerse you with their lyrical content, Abel’s pretty voice (Abel Tesfaye is The Weeknd’s real name for those of y’all that don’t know), and the ’80s inspired arrangements. Dare I say, I enjoyed it slightly—just slightly—more than Childish Gambino’s 3.15.2020 album.
“Blinding Lights” was the breakout single of After Hours, and it also proved to be one of the most successful songs in The Weeknd’s catalog. As of now, “Blinding Lights” has been in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top 100 chart for 40 weeks (it’s currently at number seven), effectively breaking the record of spending the most time on the list. He even surpassed “Uptown Funk,” which spent 31 weeks on the Top 100. The Weeknd’s overall success secured his spot as the halftime performer at next year’s Super Bowl (I can’t wait to see that). Yet despite all the accolades The Weeknd received from After Hours, he was not nominated for a single Grammy for the 2021 ceremony. Not one.
Mr. Tesfaye was not here for the foolishness.
Needless to say, the rest of Twitter was in a full out uproar when they heard the news.
Just when things couldn’t get any crazier, this happened:
You read that correctly. The night of Nov. 24, 2020, when I started writing this article, The Weeknd’s albums were not located on his Apple Music page. A gentleman on Twitter first brought this to my attention (his tweet has since been deleted). Concerned that they took Abel’s albums away en masse, I did some checking on my own. Here’s my response to the original tweet:
Since the albums were featured in my library, but not The Weeknd’s artist page, I figured it may just be a glitch with the phone app. I decided to dig a little deeper and I check out my Apple Music app on my desktop. His albums appeared when you searched for him…
But if you visited his actual page, you got zilch.
I decided to see if Apple Music was having an all around system glitch, so I checked Bruno’s article page.
All Bruno’s albums were still there.
I’m pretty certain this wasn’t an accident. I’m also willing to bet my Attitude Era wrestling DVD’s that The Weeknd didn’t have the albums removed from Apple Music himself. That wouldn’t make much sense, profit wise. Someone wanted to send him a message. The threat was short lived, however. For whatever reason, as of the morning of Nov. 25, 2020, all the albums were back on The Weeknd’s page:
There’s rumors that the reason The Weeknd was snubbed was due to the fact that he chose to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl instead of the Grammy ceremony, but according to TMZ, Recording Academy Chief Harvey Mason, Jr. insists those rumors are false.
It’s possible The Weeknd may not have been nominated due to his outcries of Black artists all being lumped in the same music categories when it comes to the Grammys. It could also be argued that the rebuff came about from The Weeknd demanding justice for Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor during this year’s Video Music Awards show.
Then there’s the YouTube commenter who thinks all the Grammys drama is connected to the creepy theme of Abel’s “Too Late” video.
Regardless of the reason, between the Grammys snub and the Apple Music “glitch” this past Tues., the industry has definitely been doing The Weeknd wrong lately. Please allow me to quote Q-Tip yet again, “Industry Rule #4,080: Record company people are shady!” I don’t know who Abel pissed off, but I’m gonna need that person or people to grill their beef and eat it. He should’ve been nominated for at least one Grammy considering how great the After Hours project is. He was certainly robbed and deserved better.
As insulting as this slight is, seeing how talented and resilient The Weeknd is, I know he won’t be deterred by the Academy’s bad decision. He’ll come back swingin’ and he’ll make more great music. He may create something even better than After Hours when all is said and done.
Keep your head up, Abel. You’re great, regardless.
I’ll just end this post with some hilarious words from my baby Bruno:
For the complete list of 2021 Grammy nominees, click here. Big ups to my girls Beyoncé and Jhené Aiko, by the way.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! 🦃🥧🌽
—Written by Nadiya
Do you think The Weeknd was robbed, or do you believe he didn’t deserve any Grammy nominations for After Hours? What do you believe was behind the so-called glitch with Apple Music on Nov. 24? Why do you think After Hours wasn’t nominated for any Grammys? Have you ever had favorite artists that were completly snubbed by the Grammys or only won a precious few of the coveted awards during their long and illustrious careers? Who were they? Let me know in the comments section!