2021 Grammy nominations lacked transparency, snubbed deserving artists

2021 Grammy nominations lacked transparency, snubbed deserving artists

Maddie Kosc and Wendy Zhu

It is safe to say that the 2021 Grammy Award nominee list resulted in many disagreements in the music world. Listeners, myself included, were shocked to hear that Abel Tesfaye, known as The Weeknd, received zero nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards.      

The Weeknd took to Twitter right after and tweeted, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…” 

This is not the first time the nominations for the Grammy Awards faced criticism for a lack of transparency in its nomination process, as there have been separate occasions in which The Recording Academy, the committee in charge of nominations, have been accused of biases.

I would not consider myself a superfan of The Weeknd, but I listen to his music from time to time. Whether you are a music aficionado or don’t listen to music at all, there is no denying that The Weeknd’s recent album, “After Hours, has been incredibly successful. His hit song “Blinding Lights” set a new record for most weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and has now reached a stream count in the billions. Based on numbers alone, The Weeknd’s lack of nominations was extremely surprising. 

Fans have questioned whether or not race had played a role into The Weeknd’s lack of nominations. Other top-charting Black artists such as Lil Baby and Roddy Ricch shared similar experiences. The Academy made dubious history by not nominating a single Black woman for Best R&B Album. Whether or not such motivations were racial, it is clear the nomination process is flawed.

No matter the reasons, I do believe that “After Hours” deserved at least a nomination in the 2021 Grammy Awards. The Weeknd has undoubtedly made a large impact on the music industry through his many successes this year, outperforming much of his competition, something that the Grammys should have acknowledged in their nomination process. The secretive nature of the process raises many questions that will likely be left unanswered for the foreseeable future.

Beyond The Weeknd, other notable 2021 Grammy Award nomination snubs included Harry Styles for album and song of the year, BTS for Record of the Year, and Pop Smoke for Best New Artist. Though there were many qualified and deserving artists up for consideration this year, The Weeknd definitely deserved to have this year’s successes recognized by the Grammy Recording Academy.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Maddie Kosc at [email protected] See more of her works here. To see past issues of the HiLite, click here.