The rule changes from the Academy came with the removal of the major category nomination review committees, which the Weeknd previously called “secret” and “corrupt.” The “Craft” categories will still have committees, but the main nominations will be determined by the majority of Academy voting members. The move was made in hopes of increasing the transparency of the awards.
The Weeknd’s 2020 album After Hours was not nominated for a single award at the 2021 Grammys, to heavy criticism from fans and collaborators alike. These committees were mostly comprised of music industry executives, although their names were not made public. The Weeknd seems unimpressed with these changes, and suggests there’s much more work to be done.
“The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organization and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag," the Weeknd told Variety.
He called the move "an important start," but he will not be submitting his music for consideration anytime soon. “I think the industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated, but it’s an important start,” he added. “I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting in the future.”
As Variety pointed out, Grammy chief Harvey Mason Jr. maintained following the announcement of the rule changes that there was no “admission of corruption.” Mason Jr. also said that he had been working to remove these committees prior to the snub of After Hours, and stressed that the Academy is listening to criticism is working “to make things better.”
The Weeknd’s manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby also continues to be critical of the Recording Academy despite the changes. "No change comes without a voice heard. I’m just proud of Abel for standing up for what he believes in," said Slaiby. "I was in a shock when all this happened but now I see it clear and I’m glad we stood for our beliefs.”
Of course, the Weeknd has also stressed that there's more important issues than awards shows. "“The industry can keep stepping up to share their revenue to help those in need in various situations and to support the marginalized communities who create and buy the music they sell,” he added. “We have seen some movement there and I expect and encourage even more. I care about making music that people love and helping where I can. Right now my concern is what’s happening in my home country of Ethiopia and encourage people to be aware of what is happening and donate where they can.”