If the Recording Academy was attempting to appease naysayers by axing the anonymous review committees who, for years, have determined the nominees for major categories at the Grammys, it failed to win over one of its biggest critics: the Weeknd, who affirmed his boycott of the awards show on Monday.
The rule change was announced Friday, with the academy stating that the categories previously decided by the nominations review committees—consisting of “15-30 highly skilled music peers who represented and voted within their genre communities”—will now be determined on votes made by the academy’s 11,000-plus members.
The Weeknd may see the major change as a step in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean he’s backing down from his decision to boycott the Grammys.
In a statement provided to The New York Times Monday, the Weeknd said, “Even though I won’t be submitting my music, the Grammys’ recent admission of corruption will hopefully be a positive move for the future of this plagued award and give the artist community the respect it deserves with a transparent voting process.”
The Weeknd has been vocal in his criticism of the Grammys’ nomination process ever since he was shut out of the nominations for the 2021 show despite having the year’s biggest single with “Blinding Lights.” Ahead of the ceremony, he issued a statement saying, “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
Similar complaints have been issued by Drake, Frank Ocean and other prominent performers—particularly Black artists—over the years, and in January 2020, ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan filed an Equal Opportunity Commission complaint claiming that “members of the board [of trustees] and the secret committees chose artists with whom they have personal or business relationships.”
But in a statement issued Friday, Harvey Mason Jr., the academy’s interim president and CEO, seemed hopeful.
“It’s been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I’m immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our awards process,” Mason Jr. said. “This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community. While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the Grammy Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music. We are honored to work alongside the music community year-round to further refine and protect the integrity of the awards process.”
A rep for The Weeknd’s record company has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment.