The Thanksgiving break has done little to calm the anger over the Grammy Awards’ baffling shutout of The Weeknd and several other artists from the 2021 nominations, and on Saturday Halsey — who was herself shut out from nominations — took to Instagram to air her feelings on the issue, as have Drake, Elton John, Kid Cudi, Charlie Puth and others.
In a social media post last week, The Weeknd accused the Recording Academy of being “still corrupt,” which prompted a response from interim Grammy chief Harvey Mason jr., who insists the process is legitimate, and, in an interview with Variety earlier in the week, defended the voters who made the widely criticized decision.
“All the records get the fairest of fair shakes,” he said. “We listen to all the music — it’s a long, arduous process and people take pride in it. The people in that room care: there’s no agendas in there, there’s no “let’s snub this person’ or that person. It’s about, ‘Let’s try and find excellence.’”
Halsey’s post follows in full:
“I’ve been thinking and wanted to choose my words carefully because a lot of people have extended sympathy and apology to me since the Grammy nominations.
The Grammys are an elusive process,” she wrote. “It can often be about behind the scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and ‘bribes’ that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as ‘not bribes.’ And if you get that far, it’s about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show.
“Perhaps sometimes it is (!!!) but it’s not always about the music or quality or culture,” she continued. “Just wanted to get that off my chest. @theweeknd deserves better, and Manic did too [woman shrugging emoji] perhaps it’s unbecoming of me to say so but I can’t care anymore. While I am THRILLED for my talented friends who were recognized this year, I am hoping for more transparency or reform. But I’m sure this post will blacklist me anyway.”
The exact nature of the “bribes” and other transgressions Halsey implies isn’t clear, but the Grammys’ voting and nomination process came under withering criticism earlier this year in the wake of former president/CEO Deborah Dugan’s termination. In a blockbuster legal complaint, she accused the Grammys of “egregious conflicts of interest, improper self-dealing by Board members and voting irregularities with respect to nominations for Grammy Awards, all made possible by the ‘boys’ club’ mentality and approach to governance at the Academy.” The Academy has claimed that a subsequent audit by a third party cleared it of all such accusations; other elements of the legal battle are ongoing.
Reps for the Recording Academy and Halsey did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.